Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for the extension the presidential term from four to six years in his first state-of-the-nation address since succeeding Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, reported dpa.
Medvedev, 43, addressing the country's top political elite, gathered in the Kremlin's opulent St George Hall, said the change would allow the government to carry through more effectively with its reforms.
He also proposed extending the term for lawmakers in Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, from four to five years and increasing the power of that body.
His speech ran through a list of domestic political reforms aimed at helping small parties win more representation in government and increasing legislative oversight of the government headed by Putin.
"I'm not talking about constitutional reform, but about corrections to the constitution," Medvedev said in the nationally televised address. "These amendments are important, but all aimed at making (the constitution) more precise, not altering the political or legal essence of the existing institutions."
Putin, who ushered Medvedev into office on the coat-tails of his sky-high popularity, sat in the front row of the gilded hall next to the head of the dominant pro-Kremlin party Boris Gryzlov.
The ex-Kremlin leader centralized power in his eight years in office, for example replacing elections for regional governors with presidential appointments and consolidating political life into one pro-Kremlin party.
Medvedev's administration can easily muster the two-thirds majority in parliament needed to approve changes to the constitution.
A Kremlin spokesman specified Wednesday that such amendments would not be put to a referendum.
"Our progress toward freedom and democracy will be successful and unwavering only if the prestige of the president and the State Duma is sufficiently high ... and if they have enough time to put their pledges into practice," Medvedev said. "We will have to tackle a host of difficult tasks."
Intrigue remains about how much power Medvedev's mentor-turned- premier Putin still holds in Kremlin decision making. Originally scheduled for last week, analyst said Medvedev's state-of-the-nation had been delayed to allow for Putin's advisors to input on his draft.
Medvedev on Wednesday proposed making the work of Putin's government accountable to parliament to counterbalance an extension of the presidential term of office.
He also called for allowing smaller parties more seats in parliament and giving non-governmental organizations the right to have a say in draft legislation.
Medvedev said over 5 million Russian votes are cast for parties that don't make it over the 7 per cent threshold to enter parliament.
"This is unfair and should be corrected," Medvedev said, adding that parties who won more than five per cent should be afforded one or two Duma seats.
He said he would leave the threshold as is, but proposed that registration of political parties be simplified by reducing the number of voter signatures required.
Observers warned that an amendment to the presidential term would allow future presidents to rule for 12 years in two consecutive terms.