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Medvedev signs law extending presidential term
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President Dmitry Medvedev has signed into law constitutional amendments that extend presidential terms from four to six years, local media reported Tuesday.

The extension, however, will only be applicable to the next president, according to the new law.

The extension also increases the mandate of the deputies of the State Duma, or the lower house of the parliament, to five years from four and expands their power as well.

The amendments were adopted by the State Duma on Nov. 21 and approved by the Federation Council, or the upper house of the parliament, a week later.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Medvedev's predecessor and close ally, leads the ruling United Russia party, which holds more than two thirds of the State Duma seats.

Putin ended his second consecutive presidential term in May, handing his power to Medvedev after the latter won the presidential election in March.

(Xinhua News Agency December 31, 2008)

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