UPDATE – Russian government resigns following Putin's address

ADDS INFORMATION ABOUT NEW PRIME MINISTER NOMINATION

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) – The Russian government resigned Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin proposed constitutional changes and said he needed "to organize the work.”

Putin accepted the resignations and asked Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to take on a new role as deputy head of the Security Council.

At a government meeting following his address to the Federal Assembly, Putin explained the reshuffle is the need “to properly organize the work” to implement tasks voiced during the speech.

In response to Putin's call, Medvedev said it would be right for the government to resign, "to let the president make all necessary decisions."

"As the government of the Russian Federation, we must give the president of our country the opportunity to make all the necessary decisions for this. And in these circumstances, I believe that it would be correct, in accordance with Article 117 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, for the Russian government to resign," Medvedev said.

Putin suggested establishing a position of a deputy head of the Russian Security Council and to appoint Medvedev to the position.

"As for our joint work with Dmitry Anatolyevich [Medvedev], we have just said that he was the head of state and has been the head of the government for almost eight years. This is the longest term in this position in the recent history of Russia. We agreed that since Dmitry Anatolyevich has always dealt with issues of defense and security, we should introduce the post of deputy head of the Security Council. As you know, the president is the head of the Security Council," he said.

Putin and Medvedev thanked the ministers for their efforts, with Putin adding he was satisfied with their work and asked that they continue their duties until the formation of a new government.

"For my part, I also want to thank you for everything that has been done at this stage, and I want to express my satisfaction with the results that have been achieved. Not everything worked out, but everything never works out in full. I hope that we will see each other in the near future. I will meet with each of you and ask you to perform your duties in full until the new government is formed," Putin said.

Following the meeting with government members, Putin signed a decree about the government resignation that was published on the presidential website.

He assigned temporary performance of the duties of the prime minister to Medvedev.

Meanwhile, at a meeting with the head of Russia's Federal Tax Service Mikhail Mishustin, Putin offered him a position of the premier.

After getting Mishustin's agreement, Putin introduced the nomination for the consideration of the lower chamber of parliament, the State Duma.

The State Duma press service announced a vote on the nomination will take place Jan.16.

Addressing the Federal Assembly, consisting of the country's two legislative houses, Putin pledged to put his proposed constitutional amendments to a general vote.

Putin eyes introducing limitations on future heads of state, including cutting the maximum number of terms to two and imposing the condition of permanent residency in Russia for at least 25 years.

He stressed the need to prohibit foreign citizenship and residence permits for senior officials, as well as to give the parliament the right of appointing prime ministers and cabinets.

The presidential address to the Federal Assembly is an annual event in which Russia's president announces his vision of strategic directions for the country's development in the near future.

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