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Russians approve constitutional changes giving Putin chance to rule until 2036 Updated: 2020-07-03 17:14:59 KST

Russia's constitutional reform will now allow President Vladmir Putin to possibly stay in power until 2036.
Putin's time was due to end in 2024 after two back to back terms of six years, but the constitutional changes reset the clock, allowing him to run for two more additional terms.
Should he do so, Putin would be Russia's president for a total of 32 years.
That would mean that he would have been in charge of Russia for longer than Joseph Stalin, who ruled the USSR for 30 years.
Putin was president from 2000 until 2008, then spent 4 years as prime minister before running again for president in 2012.
Official results published on Thursday showed that nearly 78% of voters approved the constitutional changes, with a turnout of over 60 percent.

"I would like to thank all the citizens of Russia who considered this a civic duty, a public service, who have read the amendments, gave them some thought, came or expressed their will in another way."

The constitutional court of Russia had already approved the amendments, but the government still carried out a vote to give the changes more legitimacy.
The landslide victory confirmed Putin's continuous popularity in the country.

"Russians feel oppressed by the western countries including the U.S., so they bond under a strong leadership, which Putin offers. Putin fulfills the Russians' yearning for the past when Russia was a global powerhouse by promoting power. In addition, the Russians haven't found the right successor yet."

Russia is currently facing hardships such as COVID-19 the country has the third most reported cases in the world and the falling price of oil, which Russia's economy is reliant on.
Despite this, Putin is still highly likely to be re-elected if he runs again in 2023.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News
Reporter : tkim@arirang.com
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