Putin sets July 1 for vote to extend rule

Moscow, Jun 2 (AP) | Publish Date: 6/2/2020 10:25:09 AM IST

Russian President Vladimir Putin has set July 1 as date for a nationwide vote on constitutional amendments allowing him to extend his rule until 2036, even as the nation is continuing to record high numbers of new coronavirus cases.

Speaking during a live video call with top officials, Putin said the pace of Russia’s coronavirus outbreak has slowed down, allowing the nation to safely hold the vote. If approved, the constitutional amendments would allow Putin to spend another 12 years in power after his current term ends in 2024.

Putin argued that Russia will have 30 days before the vote to take additional efforts to control contagion and make the plebiscite fully safe. The vote was postponed from April 22 due to the pandemic.

Officials reported to Putin that voters will have a chance to cast ballots in the six days before July 1 to reduce crowds and increase safety amid the pandemic. They said that at some polling stations voting could be held outdoors to help make it safer. 

The constitutional plebiscite has been a focal point on Putin’s political agenda since he initiated the changes in January.

Under the current law, Putin wouldn’t be able to run for president again in 2024 because of term limits. A new measure would reset his term count, allowing him to run for two more six-year terms if he chooses.

The 67-year-old Vladimir Putin has been in power since 2000, longer than any other ruler in the country since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.


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