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Russians approve new constitutional reforms, Vladimir Putin may stay as Russia’s President till 2036

The constitutional reforms include changes that would allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to run for another two six-year consecutive terms after his current term expires in 2024.

Jul 2, 2020 12:20 IST
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Russians on July 1, 2020 approved the constitutional changes proposed by the Vladimir Putin-led Russian Government, which will allow Putin to possibly remain in power for another 16 years till 2036.

Russia went to polls on July 1 for a nationwide referendum on newly proposed constitutional reforms. The preliminary results show that the Russian voters have overwhelmingly approved the new constitutional changes.

Key Highlights

A total of 206 amendments had been proposed and Russians had to vote a “yes” or a “no” to the reforms as a whole.

According to Russia’s Central Election Commission, around 70 percent of the votes counted across supported the nation’s new constitutional reforms, while almost 29 percent voted against them. Fuller results are predicted soon.

The constitutional reforms include changes that would boost pension and allow Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has ruled Russia for nearly two decades to run for another two six-year consecutive terms after his current term expires in 2024.

This means that Vladimir Putin could be the President of Russia for 16 more years, nearly till the mid of the century. The Russian President has not officially mentioned that he would be running for elections next time. Putin has said that he is yet to decide on his future. However, as per critics, he will run again. 

The other constitutional reforms include a ban on same-sex marriage and introduction of a reference to Russia's ancestral "faith in God".

The voting had begun across Russia last week and the turnout was recorded to be around 64 percent. 

Russia’s Parliament had already adopted the new constitutional reforms but President Vladimir Putin ordered a public vote to legitimise the reforms. The public referendum was due in April but got delayed due to coronavirus outbreak. 

Russia’s new constitutional reforms

The new constitutional amendments include some of the following reforms: 

Banning of any act aimed at the "expropriation" of Russian territory.

Protecting the "historical truth" of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) and banning any "belittling" of the feats of those who fought the war. 

Protection of the institution of marriage as the union between man and woman, which means essentially banning same-sex marriages. 

Barring of senior officials from foreign passports, residency, or overseas bank accounts.

Reference to Russians' faith in God, as handed down by their ancestors.

Indexing of pensions.

The minimum wage would no longer be lesser than the subsistence minimum income.

Shaping responsible attitude towards animals

The state council will set the direction of socio-economic priorities and domestic and foreign policy.

President's Term

A person will be able to hold presidency for only two terms, replacing earlier clause of two consecutive terms. In the case of a person already holding the presidency, the previous terms will not be counted, which means Putin’s previous terms including the current one will not be counted.

Background 

Vladimir previously served as Russia’s President for two consecutive terms till 2008, when he was forced to step down due to a constitutional provision. Putin chose Dmitry Medvedev as his successor, who won a landslide victory in the March 2008 presidential elections. Medvedev nominated Putin as the nation’s Prime Minister within hours of taking the oath.

In March 2012, Vladimir Putin was elected as Russia’s President for a third term. He nominated Medvedev to serve as prime minister. Overall, Putin has been in power in Russia as either President or Prime Minister for 20 years.

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