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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian Voters Clear Path for Putin to Remain in Power Until 2036

By VOA News July 02, 2020

Voters in Russia have approved a package of constitutional reforms that includes opening the possibility that President Vladimir Putin can remain president until 2036. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday the result was a "triumph."

Opposition officials and independent election observers cast doubts on the legitimacy of the voting, which ended Wednesday, noting among other concerns that turnout seemed artificially high in some areas.

"We'll never recognize this result," opposition politician Alexei Navalny said.

Election officials said the voting was carried out with integrity.

The 67-year-old Putin has led Russia either as president or prime minister for more than two decades, and the reforms allow him to run for two more six-year terms after his current term runs out in 2024.

With most of the votes counted, election officials said voters had approved the package 77.9% to 21.3%. 

Putin has said he will decide closer to 2024 as to whether he would run for another term.

Also included in the constitutional reforms are protections for pensions and a de facto ban on same-sex marriages.

The voting took place over the course of a week so that polling places could minimize crowds due to coronavirus concerns.

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