MOSCOW – The Russian State Duma, or the lower house of parliament, at a plenary meeting on Thursday approved amendments to the country’s constitution submitted by President Vladimir Putin in its first reading, the Duma said in a statement.

Duma factions will now prepare the bill for its second reading and present it within 15 days, it added.

The amendments proposed by Putin relate to national security and sovereignty, including restrictions on foreign citizenship and residency, the Kremlin has said.

The president also proposed provisions setting forth a minimum wage, guaranteeing the indexation of pensions, social benefits and other social payments, and setting out the basic principles of nationwide retirement benefits.

The second reading of the bill is scheduled for Feb 11, the Duma said in a separate statement.

After the second and third readings, at which the bill needs a majority vote of at least two thirds to pass, it needs to be endorsed by at least three quarters of voters in the Federation Council, or the upper house of parliament, before being signed into law by Putin.

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