Russians Grant Putin Right to Extend His Rule Until 2036 in Landslide Vote
- Russians appeared to have paved the way for Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036 by voting overwhelmingly for a package of constitutional changes which will also boost pensions, initial results of a nationwide vote showed on Wednesday.
- Partial results, announced five hours before polls closed, indicate the former KGB officer who has ruled Russia for more than two decades as president or prime minister will win the right to run for two more terms. That means he could remain president for 16 more years.
- The Central Election Commission said 77.9% of votes counted across the world’s largest country had supported changing the constitution. Just over 21% had voted against, it said.
- Russians have been encouraged to vote with prize draws offering flats and an ad campaign highlighting other constitutional amendments in the same reform bundle, such as the pensions protection and a de facto ban on same-sex marriages.
- One-off payments of 10,000 roubles ($141) were transferred to those with children at Putin’s order as people headed to polling stations on Wednesday, the last day of the vote, held over seven days to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
- “I voted for the amendments to the constitution,” Moscow resident Mikhail Volkov said. “We need radical changes and I’m for them.”
- Putin, 67, made no mention of how the changes could affect his own career in an eve-of-vote speech on Tuesday. They would allow him to run for another two six-year, consecutive stints after his current term expires in 2024.
- At 60 percent, according to the Levada pollster, his approval rating remains high but well down on its peak of nearly 90 percent.
- With Russia reporting thousands of new COVID-19 cases each day, opponents have been unable to stage protests but have mocked the vote online, sharing photographs of polling stations in apartment stairwells, courtyards and the boot of a car.
Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country located in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia.Covering an area of 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), it is the largest country in the world by area, spanning more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area.
- Capital– Moscow
- Currency– Russian Rouble
- President– Vladimir Putin
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