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Russian Lawmakers to Debate Extending Presidential Term

The lower house of Russia's parliament, the State Duma, has scheduled debate for Friday on President Dmitri Medvedev's proposal to extend the term of the country's president from four to six years.

The chairman of the Duma's commission on constitutional legislation, Vladimir Pilgin, said lawmakers will consider the measure under fast-track procedures holding all three required readings of the bill in a single day.

Meanwhile, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin expressed support for Mr. Medvedev's proposal. He said it is still too early to say who will run for the next term or when.

Some Russian news reports raised the possibility the change would require a new presidential election in Russia. This, they said, would allow Mr. Putin to quickly seek to return to the presidency.

But Russian officials have downplayed the possibility, noting that the changes would not apply to Mr. Medvedev's current term.

Mr. Medvedev also proposed extending the term of the State Duma from four to five years.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.