VLADIMIR Putin has signed a law allowing him to stay in power until 2036, in a move which would overhaul Russia’s constitution.
The Russian leader, 67, made the executive order on Friday which will bring the changes into force on Saturday.
Vladmir Putin 67, made the executive order on Friday which will allow him to remain President until 2036[/caption]
A man casts his ballot at a polling station during a seven-day vote for constitutional reforms[/caption]
Voters approved the changes during a week-long plebiscite which saw Putin claim victory with 78 per cent of the vote, amid allegations of widespread vote rigging and falsified votes.
As the Russian leader signed the decree to have the constitution revised, he emphatically repeated: “The amendments come into force. They come into force, without overstating it, at the people’s will.
“We made this important decisions together, as a country”.
The amendments come into force. They come into force, without overstating it, at the people’s will.
The amendments will pave the way for Putin to rule for two more six-year terms after his current one expires in 2024.
The changes will allow a sitting or former president to run for office no matter how many terms they have previously held.
It would mean the 67-year-old would break Josef Stalin’s record of 30 years in power.
Other alterations included in the amendment are set to outlaw same-sex marriage and mention the ‘belief in God as a core value’ in Russian society.
Critics have raised concerns about the vote’s legitimacy, claiming the plebiscite is a sham and that Putin intends to cling to power.
Putin proposed amending the constitution in January and insisted on putting the language on his eligibility for office and the other topics up to a nationwide vote that wasn’t legally required after the changes were approved by Russia’s parliament and rubber-stamped by the country’s Constitutional Court.
The citizens’ vote was initially scheduled for April 22, but postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The balloting concluded on Wednesday amid widespread reports of pressure on voters and other irregularities.
Kremlin critics denounced the results of the plebiscite with 78 per cent yes votes and a nearly 68 per cent turnout – as falsified and undermining the legitimacy of the amendments.
Central Election Commission Chairwoman Ella Pamfilova rejected the accusations on Friday, saying that the results of the vote are authentic and their legitimacy is indisputable.
The vote was carried out with the utmost transparency, she said.
Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, said Friday that lawmakers would start working on bills implementing the amendments immediately, without taking their traditional summer break.
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Putin, who has ruled Russia for more than 20 years, unleashed a political storm in January with his plan to overhaul the Russian Constitution for the first time since 1993.
Putin’s current term ends in 2024 and under previous laws he was unable to president again as he has just served two consecutive terms.
He has held the top job in the Kremlin four times since he was first elected in 2000.
How long did Lenin and Stalin rule for?
Vladimir Lenin served as head of government of Soviet Russia from 1917 to 1924 and of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924.
Lenin formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1992 and it last until 1991.
Josef Stalin was the premier of the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1953.
Stalin combined Marxism with Leninism, while his own policies are known as Stalinism.
Stalin instituted the “Great Purge”, which say more than a million imprisoned and at least 700,000 executed between 1934 and 1939.
A woman casts her ballot at a polling station during a seven-day vote for constitutional reforms in Vladivostok[/caption]
A man takes part in early voting on Russian Constitutional amendments amid the coronavirus pandemic[/caption]