Referendum In Russia Passes, Allowing Putin To Remain President Until 2036

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Russia's Constitution allows for two consecutive terms as president, but the amendments would hit the reset button, allowing Putin two additional possible six-year terms, running through 2036.

After processing 99 percent of the ballots, the Russian Election Commission has announced that 77 percent of voters approved proposed changes to the constitution, while 21 percent were opposed. When Putin first announced the constitutional amendments at the start of the year, many observers in Russian Federation and overseas commended them as "revolutionary" and "the beginning of a transition", believing Putin was planning to delegate some powers away from the Kremlin, in preparation for retirement after his fourth presidential term expires in 2024.

There's just one question, yes or no, but this national vote takes in hundreds of amendments to the Russian constitution.

On June 25, the All-Russian voting on amendments to Constitution started in the country and overseas.

Other important amendments include a guaranteed minimum pension for retirees, the primacy of Russian law over global norms, and a declaration in belief in God as a core value of the Russian Federation.

The turnout exceeded 64 percent, according to officials.

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In exchange, the president received more powers over appointing and dismissing prosecutors, their deputies, and Constitutional Court judges.

Other changes in the reform package grant former presidents immunity from prosecution, enshrine a reference in the constitution to God and define marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun said on the eve of the vote that Mr Putin, along with Chinese President Xi Jinping, "seem intent on putting themselves into office for life".

The Kremlin "definitely considers this as a triumph", presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, describing the vote as a "referendum on trust" in the Russian president.

In a recent interview, Putin said that he has chose to run for presidency once more in order to enable Russia's political elite to focus on governance instead of looking for his successor. At a polling station in Vladivostok in Russia's Far East, 79-year-old Valentina Kungurtseva said she supported the reforms. "So, dear opponents, you have had a chance to see again that you are being manipulated, flagrantly and dishonestly", he said.

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