Russians to vote on Putin’s constitutional changes

Russia will today initiate a nationwide vote on proposed changes to the country’s constitution. The voting, which will be finalised

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Photo: The Independent

Russia will today initiate a nationwide vote on proposed changes to the country’s constitution.

The voting, which will be finalised in early July, was initially scheduled for late April but was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The proposed amendments include a stipulation that would allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to pursue an additional brace of six-year terms when his current mandate ends in 2024. The referendum has been criticised as symbolic gesture organised to lend legitimacy to changes already approved by Russia’s judiciary, as voters are restricted to a yes-or-no decision on the entire package.

The amendments are expected to cement Putin’s goal of conservative societal integration, as well as his efforts to reposition Russia as a global neo-conservative power in direct contest with Western liberal values. The changes also guarantee a minimum welfare state, which is expected to resonate well within the general population due to the global pandemic-induced oil devaluation and associated economic disruption. The Russian electorate, which leans rightward and relies heavily on state support, lacks a viable alternative to Putin and is thus expected to support the incumbent in the medium-term.

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