‘If situation allows’. Russians to vote on constitutional amendments in April

On March 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on holding a nationwide voting on the constitutional amendments on April, 22.

However, during the meeting with chairperson of the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) Ella Pamfilova, he did not rule out postponing the vote in case of escalating the coronavirus threat.

“Bearing in mind the serious epidemiological situation in the world that affects our country this or that way, although not so severely like in other countries, we will organize voting only if the situation allows to hold such events <…> The most important thing that matters is people’s lives and health. We will reckon with the situation,” state-run news agency TASS quotes the Russian leader.

In the course of the would-be national vote, the citizens of Russia are expected to define their position on on the amendments to the Russian Constitution initiated by Putin in January and adopted by lawmakers in March. One of the amendments is about the permissible number of terms, during which the same person may hold the post of the President of the Russian Federation.

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On March 10, Vladimir Putin assented to the deputies’ proposal to ‘zero out’ a number of presidential terms he served on condition that the Constitutional Court and Russian citizens approve it. Russia’s parliament passed the amendment; over 380 MPs were in favour of it, 43 voted against, one person abstained.

On March 16, the Russian Constitutional Court concluded that the amendments to the Constitution, including those that reset Vladimir Putin’s previous presidential terms, are legitimate.

In 2018, it was the fourth time (not in a row) that Putin had assumed the presidential office. If the majority of Russians vote for the amendment, Vladimir Putin will apparently run for presidency in the year of 2024.

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