Russian President Vladimir Putin won a referendum vote on Thursday, allowing him to stay in office through 2036. Putin’s constitutional amendments garnered close to 78 percent of the votes. Approximately 65 percent of voters turned out.
The constitutional amendments in the referendum already cleared the national parliament in Moscow and were ratified by regional legislatures across the nation. Further, they were approved by the Russian Constitutional Court.
The referendum included other changes to the constitution, such as wage boosts, a ban on same-sex marriage, a ban on top officials holding dual citizenship and a mention of “faith in god.” The vote packaged all amendments into one vote for-or-against.
The extension of term limits will allow Putin to stay in power essentially for life. Prominent critic of Putin, Alexei Navalny, called the referendum a “coup” and a “shameful farce.” Additionally, Navalny claimed “[The results] have nothing in common with the opinion of Russia’s citizens.”
Putin has not proclaimed he will run for President in 2024. He instead framed the referendum as a way to avoid becoming a lame-duck president. In a statement to the Pobeda Organising Committee he stated:
We are still very vulnerable in many ways; a lot, as they say, was done in a hurry. We need internal stability and time to strengthen the country and all its institutions.
Putin first served as president in 2000. He then stepped down in 2008 and was sworn-in as prime minister from 2008 until 2012. In 2012, Putin resumed power.
The term-limit change to the Russian Constitution will allow Putin, currently 67, to remain in power until age 83.