Russia’s government has resigned, a few hours after President Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping constitutional changes that could prolong his stay in power.
If approved by the public, the proposals would transfer power from the presidency to parliament.
Putin is due to step down in 2024 when his fourth term of office comes to an end.
But there is speculation he could seek a new role or hold on to power behind the scenes.
Putin put forward his plans in his annual state of the nation address to lawmakers.
Later, in an unexpected move, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced that the government was resigning to help facilitate the changes.
Russian government sources said the ministers did not know about the government’s resignation ahead of the announcement.
“It was a complete surprise,” one source said.
The Russian president said during a speech to both chambers of parliament that there would be a nationwide vote on changes that would shift power from the presidency to parliament.