By International correspondent
Russian President Vladimir Putin last Wednesday proposed constitutional changes a move which saw extensive resignations by senior government officials.
This is likely to see Russian Leader holding on to power after assuming the Presidency in 2000.
In the current constitutional setting Vladimir Putin remains uncontested until 2023 and the purported reforms will likely see an extension of his reign in Russia.
The changes Putin proposed on Wednesday would transfer more authority to parliament, including the power to choose the prime minister and senior cabinet members, instead of the president as under the current system.
This would also see the role of regional governors enhanced and residency requirements tightened for presidential candidates.
Several hours later, Russian state TV televised a meeting of the Russian government, attended by Mr Putin, when Prime Minister Medvedev said that the entire cabinet was stepping down.
“The resignation of the government is necessary to let the president of our country to make all the necessary decisions” to see through the proposed amendments, Mr Medvedev, who has served as prime minister for eight years, said.
The decision apparently came as a surprise even for some cabinet ministers. Most of them looked sobre if not shocked as they listened to Mr Medvedev’s announcement compared to the light mood that many were in when they talked to reporters after Mr Putin’s address.
The respected news website The Bell later quoted two unnamed ministers saying that no one in the cabinet knew about the impending resignation.
“It’s all very unclear and unexpected,” Moscow-based political analyst Masha Lipman told The Telegraph. “It’s definitely part of the (succession) plan but we don’t know right now what this plan is.”
Tatyana Stanovaya, nonresident scholar at the Moscow Carnegie Centre and head of the R.Politik political analysis firm, wrote on Wednesday evening that the resignation of the government likely aims for Mr Putin to groom a new successor, whoever that might be:
“It looks very much like Putin is preparing to leave the presidency … and is currently trying to create a safety mechanism for his successor in case of conflict.”
Mr Putin announced changes to the constitution in his annual state of the nation address on Wednesday CREDIT: ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AP
Mr Medvedev and his government have been tainted by allegations of large-scale corruption, and Medvedev’s unpopularity was reportedly dragging down Mr Putin’s a