Putin wins right to extend his rule until 2036 in landslide vote – POLITICO


Russian President Vladimir Putin | Sergey Guneev/Getty Images

Constitutional amendments allow Russian president to run two more consecutive times.

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Surprise! Putin won.

Russians voted by a landslide to pass constitutional changes that will allow Vladimir Putin to run for president twice more, potentially extending his rule until 2036.

According to official preliminary results published Wednesday, about half an hour after polls closed, around 73 percent voted yes to the amendments, versus 26 percent against. Turnout was about 65 percent.

The amendments will “reset” the two-term presidential limit to zero, allowing Putin to run for another two six-year, consecutive mandates after his current term ends in 2024. He has already led Russia for more than two decades, as either president or prime minister.

Putin has said he is yet to decide whether he would run again. If he does run in the next elections, set for 2024 and 2030, he could be in charge longer than any ruler since Peter the Great, including Joseph Stalin. By the time of the 2036 election, Putin would be 83.

The outcome of the election was never in doubt: Copies of Russia’s new constitution went on sale in bookstores days before the results were known.

Still, there were reports of widespread irregularities including voters being pressured to go to the polls to increase turnout, and inconsistent tallies of results. Voting also took place amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic, with some polling stations set up in parks and other outdoor locations.

The vote was originally set for April but was postponed due to the pandemic. The ballot was stretched out over seven days, culminating on Wednesday, as a preventative measure at a time when Russia has been reporting thousands of new COVID-19 cases each day.

David M. Herszenhorn contributed reporting.

This article has been updated.





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