Putin sets July 1 vote on measure to keep him in power through 2036

Putin sets July 1 vote on measure to keep him in power through 2036
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Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinRussia votes in favor of referendum banning gay marriage 'Comrade' Trump gets 'endorsement' from Putin in new mock ad by Lincoln Project Pelosi: Trump 'himself is a hoax' MORE announced on Monday that a vote on constitutional reforms that could extend his time in office through 2036 will take place July 1 after being postponed due to the coronavirus.

Russia’s Parliament and Constitutional Court have already approved the amendments, which would allow Putin to serve an additional two terms, Bloomberg reported. Putin’s current presidency would end in 2024 without the amendments.

The vote was originally set for April 22 before the pandemic forced the postponement. But in a teleconference from his residence outside Moscow on Monday, Putin told Kremlin officials the spread of the virus had slowed enough to reschedule the vote.

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“On the whole, we have managed to resolve the biggest problem, preventing the explosive nature of the situation from developing into a worst-case scenario,” Putin said at the start of the session. “This is allowing us to return to normal life.”

Russia's election chief, Ella Pamfilova, said at the same meeting that the voting should take place over the course of a week to prevent large crowds, according to Bloomberg.

“I’m very much counting on the citizens of Russia participating as actively as possible in the voting on determining the parameters of the basic law,” Putin said.

Russia has seen more than 415,000 cases of the virus — the third-highest number in the world — and about 5,000 deaths. Putin announced an end to a nationwide stay-at-home order on May 12 even though the country was still reporting about 10,000 new cases per day during that period. The daily increases have declined slightly since then, with the nation reporting just over 9,200 on Sunday.

During the pandemic, Russia’s leading independent pollster, the Levada Center, said Putin’s approval ratings had fallen to a 20-year low of 59 percent, down 11 points from October 2019 and 4 points from March.