Cts. Oca 18th, 2020

UPDATE – Duma approves Mikhail Mishustin as new Russian premier

– Parliament votes 423-382 with 40 abstentions in favor of Mishustin

UPDATES WITH REMARKS FROM PUTIN, ADDS MORE DETAILS

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) – Russia's State Duma, the lower house of parliament, chose Mikhail Mishustin as the prime minister at a parliamentary vote on Thursday.

The lawmakers voted 423-383 with 40 abstentions in favor of Mishustin.

The Russian government resigned Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin proposed constitutional changes.

Putin offered Mishustin, the former head of Russia's tax service, the position at a meeting.

The president is eyeing limitations on future heads of state, including downgrading the maximum number of terms to two and imposing the condition of permanent residency in Russia for at least 25 years.

He is also suggesting to prohibit foreign citizenship and residence permits for senior Russian officials and to give the parliament the right of appointing prime ministers and the Cabinet.

Just after the parliamentary vote, Putin issued two decrees, announcing Mishustin as the new Russian premier and former Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as deputy head of the Russian Security Council.

Now, the new premier is expected to present Putin candidates for the positions of his deputies and federal ministers for the presidential approval.

During the parliament vote, Putin held a meeting with a commission established to prepare draft amendments to the country's constitution.

Opening the gathering, Putin said the amendments are aiming to ensure the “further development” of Russia as "a legal social state", to increase the efficiency of the country's institutions, and strengthen the role of civil society, political parties and regions.

Russia will remain as a presidential republic, but the role of parliament will strengthen once the amendments are passed, he said.

"The president must retain serious powers related to the possible removal from office of those who violate the law, those who perform their official duties in bad faith, and in connection with the loss of trust," Putin said.