Russian Duma passes longer presidential, parliamentary terms

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Moscow, Nov 19 (UNI) The State Duma, the lower house of Russian Parliament, today in the second reading approved the bills extending longer terms for the President and Parliament, from current four years to six and five years respectively.

As many as 351 deputies voted in favour of the bills and 51 against. Communist deputies opposed the amendments, which were proposed by President Dmitry Medvedev earlier this month.

The bills now need to be approved by the Federation Council, the upper house.

Some analysts say the constitutional amendments could be used as a legal justification for calling an early presidential election in which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin could run for his third term.

Mr Putin's spokesman has said there is no plan for an early presidential election.

UNI XC SKB RK1845

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