SINGAPORE- NOVEMBER 13, 2018: Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov before a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin with Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad at the Shangri-La Hotel. Mikhail Metzel/TASS Ñèíãàïóð. Ïðåññ-ñåêðåòàðü ïðåçèäåíòà ÐÔ Äìèòðèé Ïåñêîâ ïåðåä íà÷àëîì âñòðå÷è ïðåìüåð-ìèíèñòðà Ìàëàéçèè Ì.Ìîõàìàäà è ïðåçèäåíò ÐÔ Â.Ïóòèíà â ãîñòèíèöå “Øàíãðè-Ëà”. Ìèõàèë Ìåòöåëü/ÒÀÑÑ

MOSCOW, March 18. /TASS/. Specialists will decide whether the epidemiological situation permits holding a nationwide vote on constitutional amendments on April 22, and it’s up to Russian President Vladimir Putin to make the final decision, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

“It’s obvious that this concerns an unfavorable development, and therefore if it turns out that participation in the vote will pose a threat to citizens’ health, then certainly, this is out of the question and a decision will be made on postponing the vote,” Peskov said.

Peskov emphasized that experts would evaluate whether the epidemiological situation permits carrying out the vote. According to the Kremlin spokesman, now there are no clear guidelines to judge whether the situation could be considered as unfavorable.

“The developments will be considered without bias,” he noted, stressing that “the president cannot and must not do this personally.” “As you know, the headquarters and the coordination commission are working and persons in charge of health agencies are engaged in this effort,” Peskov said. The final word on making a decision on postponing the vote rests with Putin, he highlighted. 

On Monday, Russia’s Constitutional Court ruled that the bill on constitutional amendments proposed by the president was in line with the Constitution.

On March 11, Russia’s State Duma (the lower house of parliament) passed in the third and final reading the bill, which was approved by the Federation Council (the upper house) later on the same day. After that, all of the country’s regional legislatures also approved the document.

The bill sets a limit of two presidential terms. However, the incumbent head of state can run for president regardless of the time spent in office before the amendment came into force. The document enhances the state’s social commitments, and also expands the authority of Russia’s parliament and Constitutional Court, bars top officials from holding foreign passports and residence permits and ensures the supremacy of the Constitution within Russia’s legal system.

The constitutional amendments will come into force if approved in a nationwide vote.

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