Russian lawmakers have approved constitutional changes to permit President Vladimir Putin to remain in power past 2024.
Russia’s lower house of parliament passed the measures Wednesday, by a vote of 343 to zero. Forty-three members did not take part in the vote.
The constitution requires Putin to step down in 2024 when his fourth presidential term ends. The new reforms would permit him to seek an additional two terms.
The 67-year-old Putin has been an influential1
part of Russian politics for twenty years as either president or prime minister.
Russia’s constitutional court must approve the constitutional changes for them to take effect. A nationwide vote on the proposed amendments2
is set for April 22.
The measures extend more powers to the presidency3
. They also ban same-sex marriage and declare “a belief in God” as one of Russia’s traditional values.
Putin made an appearance in parliament on Tuesday to argue that term limits were less important in times of crisis. In his words, the measures, “are needed, and I am sure they will be useful for society, for our citizens."
Russian government critics and opposition4
the parliamentary action and called for protests.