Putin, promising stability, tells Russians to vote for changes that could extend his rule


By Andrew Osborn

MOSCOW – Vladimir Putin on Tuesday urged Russians to vote for constitutional changes that would allow him to run again for president twice, calling the reforms a guarantor of stability, security and prosperity.

Putin made his appeal at the scene of a bloody World War Two battle between the Red Army and the Nazis on the eve of the main and last day of a seven-day nationwide vote that will change the constitution for the first time since 1993.

Under the proposed changes, which state exit polls suggest will be backed by over two thirds of voters, Putin would be allowed to run for another two six-year back-to-back terms after his current term expires in 2024.

That could see the former KGB officer, now 67, stay in office until 2036, though Putin has said he has yet to take a final decision on what he wants to do.

Critics and staunch supporters are convinced he will run again, while some analysts believe he has not yet made his mind up but wants to keep his options open until the last minute so as not to become a lame duck.

“We are not just voting for amendments. We are voting for the country in which we want to live, with a modern education and health system …for a country for whose sake we are working and want to pass onto out children and grandchildren,” said Putin.

“We can only guarantee stability, security, prosperity and a worthy life for people through development. Our sovereignty depends on our own responsibility, our own sincere feelings of patriotism and concern for the Motherland.”

Putin made no mention during his speech of how the constitutional changes could affect his own political career, a constant feature of the official campaign to encourage people to vote which has stressed other amendments rather than the one that would allow him to stay in power until 2036 if re-elected.

(Editing by Tom Balmforth)











Add your comment(s)



Judge seeks clarity on the scope of Trump’s clemency order for Roger Stone

By Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON - The federal judge who presided over Roger Stone's criminal case ordered the government on Monday to explain the scope...

Brazil’s offshore oil workers chilled by coronavirus outbreaks

By Gram Slattery RIO DE JANEIRO - On Friday, May 1, two workers on the PXA-1 offshore platform owned by Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras...

U.S. consumers more secure about jobs but earnings expectations drop

By Jonnelle Marte U.S. consumers are more optimistic that the worst of the economic crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic is behind them, but are...

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy ‘protest’ vote might have violated new security laws

By Jessie Pang and James Pomfret HONG KONG - Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Monday that an unofficial city-wide election conducted by the...

Actress Kelly Preston, wife of John Travolta, dies at 57

American actress Kelly Preston who has appeared in films including "Jerry Maguire" and "Twins", has died aged 57 after battling breast cancer for nearly...