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Russian gov't quits after Putin proposes constitutional reform

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Russian gov't quits

The Russian prime minister and entire government resigned on Wednesday as part of sweeping constitutional changes that could see President Vladimir Putin extend his hold on power.

Putin, in his annual address to parliament, proposed a referendum on amending Russia's constitution to increase the powers of parliament - while maintaining a strong presidential system.

"I consider it necessary to conduct a vote by the country's citizens on an entire package of proposed amendments to the country's constitution," Putin said, without specifying a date for a referendum.

He suggested amending the constitution to allow lawmakers to name prime ministers and cabinet members.

The president currently holds the authority to make those appointments.

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