Russian politicians have voted to strengthen the power of the president, by increasing his term from four years to six. The Duma, dominated by President Medvedev’s United Russia party, overwhelmingly supported the Kremlin’s constitutional amendment, and also voted to extend its own term of office from four years to five.
Critics say it may be a legal loophole to allow former President Putin to return to power. He was obliged to step down after two consecutive terms, allowing his protege Medvedev to take over. The Kremlin says the change will come into force after Medvedev’s current term.