Russian legislature unanimous in backing Putin’s leadership bill

President Vladimir Putin

Russia’s lower house of parliament voted unanimously on Thursday in favour of green-lighting, a bill by Russian President Vladimir Putin that could allow him to stay in power for life.
The bill was approved 432-0 in its first reading, the legislature said in a statement.
Eighteen members were not present.
“There were none against it and none abstaining,” the statement said.
Putin’s bill seeks sweeping reforms in the authority of the country’s leadership and has been widely seen as an effort to widen his options for retaining power after his current term ends in four years.
There is rarely dissent about Putin’s proposals in parliament.
The constitutional amendments made in the bill would give the prime minister a more autonomous role in decision making.
The State Council, which is currently only an advisory body, would be granted broader decision-making authority as an institution of the federal government.
The proposed changes have prompted speculation that Putin is preparing to move to one of those roles.
The measure still must be approved by the upper legislative house and then signed by Putin before becoming law.
Putin, 67, has been in power as president or prime minister for two decades.
He is the longest-serving Russian or Soviet leader since Joseph Stalin.