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Putin’s Overhaul Gets Initial Approval in Russian Parliament

  • State Duma votes unanimously to back constitutional changes
  • Amendments seen as part of Putin plan to extend rule
The Russian State Duma in Moscow on Jan. 21.

Photographer: Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS via Getty Images

The lower house of parliament gave initial approval to President Vladimir Putin’s plan to make major changes to the constitution, widely seen as an effort by the Russian leader to extend his 20-year rule.

Legislators in the State Duma rose for a standing ovation after voting 432-0 for the proposal, which Putin unveiled in a surprise announcement last week. Discussions on possible amendments are set for next week, with a vote on those scheduled on Feb. 11. The plan will go to a national vote in April and is virtually certain to pass.