Russian Voters Clear Path for Putin to Remain in President Until 2036

Ruben Fields
July 2, 2020

A total of 77.92 percent of Russians have backed the 206 amendments to the country's constitution in a referendum, while 21.27 percent have voted against them, data released by the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) showed Thursday.

Mrs Ella Pamfilova, the head of Russia's Central Electoral Commission, dismissed opposition allegations that state-owned corporations illegally encouraged their employees to take part in the referendum, or that some voters cast their ballots a few times.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday the result was a "triumph".

Results, after nearly a third of ballots had been counted, indicated that Putin would easily win the right to run for two more terms.

The State Duma, the lower parliament house, will be able to veto the president's appointment of prime minister, while the Federation Council, the upper parliament house, will be able to refuse approval of the president's appointments of prosecutor general, as well as their deputies and regional prosecutors. But they amounted to little more than fine print on the ballot papers.

Putin said he understood those who voted against the amendments, pointing to "many unsolved problems".

"This is really amusing", he said, when asked about the official results.

The voting started on June 25, and it was done in such a procedure, as explained, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The week-long referendum ended late on Wednesday night and all the votes have now been counted: the constitutional amendments were approved by just over 78 per cent of the Russian electorate, with around two-thirds of those entitled to vote casting their ballots.

At polling stations in Moscow on Wednesday, voters were issued masks and gloves upon entry. However, Putin was not seen wearing either as he voted at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Mr Modi warmly congratulated him on the success of celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Second World War, and also for successful completion of the vote on constitutional amendments in Russian Federation.

The Russian President also thanked Modi for the phone call.

According to the officials, turnout among the 109 million eligible voters was 65 per cent.

Putin's political opponents were quick to document irregularities.

The opposition accused the government of rigging the vote.

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