22 Nov 2008

Russia's presidential term now six years

9:59 am on 22 November 2008

Russia's lower house of parliament has approved a constitutional amendment extending the presidential term of office from four to six years.

The chamber, dominated by Mr Putin's ruling United Russia party, also voted overwhelmingly to extend its own term to five years from four years.

The amendments now have to be approved by the upper chamber of parliament and two thirds of regional legislatures across Russia to become law.

Kremlin critics say the change to the presidential term of office could be part of a plan for former president Vladimir Putin to return to his old job, though officials have denied that.