President Vladimir Putin now has the legal right to remain in power until 2036, after a large majority of Russians voted in favor of Kremlin-backed constitutional reforms.
During a week-long national referendum, Russians voted on a package of constitutional amendments that included a provision to reset Putin’s term limits, which would allow the Russian president to serve two more six-year terms after his current one expires in 2024. Putin has served almost continuously as Russia’s president since 2000, with the exception of the period from 2008 to 2012, when he served as prime minister under his hand-picked successor Dmitry Medvedev.
Other prominent amendments included a ban on senior officials holding foreign citizenship, a prohibition against “expropriation” of Russian territory, and a provision defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. The new constitution also enshrined ‘social rights’ such as guarantees that minimum wages will exceed subsistence minimum income and that pensions will be adjusted for inflation.
Russia’s Central Election Commission announced on Thursday that 77.9 percent of voters had supported the proposed amendments, while 21.3 percent had opposed them. Voter turnout for the referendum was reported at 65 percent.