Putin supports resetting presidential terms count, provided that Constitutional Court gives approval
MOSCOW. March 10 (Interfax) - Russian State Duma deputy Valentina Tereshkova's proposal that, if the proposed constitutional amendments are supported in the nationwide voting in April, the count of terms served by Russian presidents be reset to zero could be accepted if the Constitutional Court finds this proposal constitutional, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the State Duma on Tuesday.
"The second proposal [by Tereshkova, on resetting the count of presidential terms to zero] means, in fact, lifting the restriction from any person, any citizen, including the incumbent president, and allowing them to run in elections in the future. Naturally, in open and competitive elections," Putin said.
"Certainly, only if the people support this proposal, this amendment. If they say 'yes' in the nationwide voting on April 22 this year," he said.
"In principle, this option could be possible, but based on one precondition, namely: if the Russian Constitutional Court officially concludes that this amendment does not go against the Constitution's principles and basic provisions," Putin said.
At the same time, Putin has called the lifting of constitutional restrictions on the number of presidential terms inexpedient.
"In the long-term prospect, society must have guarantees of the regular transition of power; you and I should think about future generations. So, I believe that the lifting of constitutional restrictions on the number of presidential terms would be inexpedient," he said.
Later on Tuesday, the Russian State Duma voted 380-43 for the amendment annulling presidential terms, which was proposed by deputy Valentina Tereshkova for the second reading of a bill of constitutional changes.
One Duma deputy abstained from the vote.
Communist Party member Alexander Yushchenko told Interfax earlier that the Communist faction would oppose the amendment.
According to the amendment, the bill restricts the number of presidential terms served by the same person to two, but this "does not prevent the person who is serving and/or was serving as the Russian president as of the moment the amendment enters into force to stand in the Russian presidential election after this edition is included in the text of the Russian constitution for the number of terms endorsed by the amendment irrespective of the number of terms currently or formerly served by this person as of the moment of the amendment's endorsement."