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Russia's Duma paves way for Putin to retain grip on power

March 11, 2020

The lower house of the Russian parliament has approved constitutional changes that would allow President Vladimir Putin to stand for reelection beyond 2024. Not a single lawmaker voted against the changes.

Valdimir Putin in Russian parliament
Image: Reuters/Sputnik/Kremlin/A. Nikolsky

Russia's lower house of parliament approved a range of amendments to the constitution on Wednesday, including a law that allows President Vladimir Putin to seek reelection after his current term ends in 2024.

House Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin told reporters that 383 lawmakers voted in favor, 43 abstained, and none voted against. Putin's party dominates the lower house, called the Duma.

Read more: Opinion: Putin's Pushkin-like play to lead Russia till 2036

DW's Emily Sherwin analyzed how things unfolded on Tuesday. "This would mean a kind of reset button for President Putin," she told DW TV.

The bill now needs to be rubber-stamped by the upper house on Saturday and is all but certain to be approved. The bill includes 390 changes to the constitution.

What happens now?

If the upper house approves it, Putin would like to sign the bill into law on March 18, the anniversary of Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region, Russian news agency Interfax reported.

It will also go to a public referendum nationwide on April 22 for approval, at Putin's insistence.

The constitution in its current form allows a president to serve for two consecutive terms, meaning that Putin would have to leave the presidency in four years. Putin, 67, has been in power for two decades.

Other changes introduced as part of the constitutional reforms include a further strength on the powers of the presidency, a constitutional ban on gay marriage and listing a "belief in God" as a traditional value of Russia.

Putin's constitutional reform

ed/stb (dpa, Reuters)

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