Russia's Duma Authorizes Submitting Amendments To Constitution Changes Draft Until March 2

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 18th February, 2020) The Council of the Russian lower house, the State Duma, has extended to March 2 the deadline for submitting amendments to the draft on changing the national constitution, Galina Hovanskaya, the head of the State Duma's housing policy committee and a member of the working group on amendments to the Russian legislation, said on Monday.

The lower house's committee on state building and legislation has earlier invited the Council to extend the deadline to March 2, while it initially planned to accept amendments until February 14.

"Yes, we have extended [the deadline to March 2]," Hovanskaya told reporters after a meeting of the Council.

Following the announcement, State Duma Speaker Viacheslav Volodin said that the lower house could hold the second reading of the bill on amending the constitution on March 10.

"Taking into consideration the importance of the matter, ... we have decided that the committee [on state building and legislation] makes effort ... to enable us not just to accept the amendments that we are receiving by March 2 but to study them as well ... In this case, we are most likely to schedule the second reading for March 10," Volodin told reporters.

In his address to the parliament in mid-January, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered important changes to the constitution, including reducing the presidency to two terms and expanding the role of the legislature.

After both chambers of the Russian parliament pass the bill, an all-Russian vote on the amendments will take place. Last week, Putin has ordered that preparations start for the all-Russian vote.