Updated: March 12, 2020 12:58:28 pm
On Wednesday, Russia’s Parliament approved constitutional changes that would allow President Vladimir Putin to seek re-election and stay in power for another 12 years after his current term ends in 2024.
After the changes come into force, Putin could potentially stay in power until 2036, thus holding the presidency longer than the Soviet authoritarian leader Joseph Stalin.
As it stands today, the Russian Constitution places a two-term limit for Presidents. President Putin’s second 6-year term ends in 2024.
Earlier in January, Putin proposed changes to the Constitution that would allow him to move back to the Prime Minister’s chair, effectively securing his future in power through re-elections, or continue remaining in power as the head of an empowered State Council.
At the same time, a new Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin, was sworn in after predecessor Dmitry Medvedev resigned with his entire Cabinet.
Now, the Russian Parliament has approved changes that would effectively allow Putin to continue occupying the position of President until 2036.
The changes were proposed on Tuesday by Soviet-era cosmonaut-turned-parliamentarian Valentina Tereshkova, who suggested either lifting presidential term limits all together, or resetting the clock so that Putin could seek two new terms after the amendment came into force.
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Tereshkova is a revered figure in Russia, who in 1963 became the first woman in space.
Soon after Tereshkova spoke, Putin said that he was against ending presidential term limits altogether, but favoured their application only after 2024 in the event that the Constitution is revised.
The next day, the State Duma (Parliament) approved reforms that would allow Putin to run for Presidency two more times after 2024.
The changes need to be confirmed by a national referendum, being held on April 22, as well as by Russia’s Constitutional Court.
Putin’s critics have called the changes a cynical manipulation, and have called for protests. Alexei Navalny, Russia’s leading opposition figure, said, “Putin has been in power for 20 years, and yet he is going to run for the first time.”
Putin, 67, has already led Russia for more than 20 years. Since 1999, he has continuously been in power, either as Prime Minister or President.
From August 9, 1999 to May 7, 2000 he was PM; and from May 7, 2000 to May 7, 2008, President.
He was PM again from May 7, 2008 to May 7, 2012.
Since May 7, 2012, he has been President. He was re-elected in March 2018 for the current 6-year term, which expires in 2024.
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