The Russian parliament lower house began readings to approve immunity for ex presidents

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The Duma, which is the Russian parliament lower house, has backed a bill granting the Russian president and his family immunity from criminal prosecution after he has left office. In fact, it’s about constitutional amendments approved in a referendum in July. Mr Putin’s fourth term ends in 2024, but the bill, if passed by parliament, would let him run for two more terms. Under the immunity provisions, a former president and his family would have immunity from any police searches or questioning, or any confiscation of their property. They would not be prosecuted for any crimes committed in their lifetime, except for alleged acts of treason or other grave crimes in exceptional circumstances.Vladimir Putin has been in power since 2000.

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The reforms will reset Mr Putin’s term limits to zero in 2024. There will be two more Duma readings, then it goes to the Federation Council (upper house). United Russia MP Pavel Krasheninnikov, one of the bill’s authors, said the aim was to give a president “guarantees… important for the stability of the state and society”. Ex-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev would not get such immunity, because he was not Russian president. The latest legislation comes a week after Putin submitted another bill under his constitutional reforms giving ex-presidents a lifetime seat in the senate.