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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Primakov Wants Constitution Amended to Give Duma Power

Yevgeny Primakov, who heads the Fatherland-All Russia faction in the State Duma, spoke out Tuesday in favor of amending the Constitution, which he said is necessary to implement President Vladimir Putin's proposals for reorganizing the Federation Council.

Last month, Putin proposed removing the regional governors and speakers of regional legislatures from the Federation Council, parliament's upper house. He wants to replace them with their appointees, who would work in Moscow on a permanent basis.

Primakov, speaking at a news conference, argued that if governors no longer sit in the Federation Council, the body should no longer have the authority to make major national decisions, such as declarations of war, the use of military force outside the country and the appointments and dismissals of prosecutor generals.

These powers should be shared with the State Duma, Primakov said, and this is possible only if the Constitution is amended.

He suggested forming a commission to prepare constitutional amendments, which he said would help win speedier approval for Putin's bills. The bills are to come up for a second reading in the Duma on Friday.

Putin has appointed Primakov to head a commission to oversee efforts to resolve Moldova's dispute with its breakaway Transdnestr region.

Primakov said Tuesday it is necessary to bring stability to the region, which is populated mainly by Russian speakers, and "to find a common denominator."

"The revival of this commission will put an end to inconsistencies in Russia's policy toward Transdnester, as federal ministries and agencies are currently acting on this issue separately, while soon these forces will unite and will be able to solve all the issues that involve variousstate bodies," Primakov was quoted by Interfax as saying.

Russian troops intervened in fighting in Transdnestr in 1991-92 and still has troops in the region.