Russia will hold a nationwide vote on constitutional reforms on July 1, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday, setting the stage for a delayed ballot that could extend his rule until 2036.
Putin postponed the original vote, which had been set for April 22, because of the coronavirus outbreak, saying the health and safety of citizens was his top priority as the global coronavirus pandemic worsened.
But he says the situation has now broadly stabilised and the number of coronavirus infections in Moscow has dropped sharply, allowing the capital to start easing some restrictions.
The changes that Russians will vote on, already approved by parliament and Russia’s Constitutional Court, would reset Putin’s presidential term tally to zero, allowing him to serve two more back-to-back six-year terms until 2036 if re-elected.
Putin’s approval rating, though still high, has slipped to its lowest level in more than two decades though support for his plan to change the constitution rose to 47 percent in April, an opinion poll showed last month.