The Russian parliament on Wednesday approved a sweeping constitutional reform that could allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in power for another 12 years after his current term ends in 2024, AP reported.
The set of amendments was passed in the State Duma, the Kremlin-controlled lower house of parliament, and later by the upper house Federation Council. It will now be put to a nationwide vote on April 22.
A total of 383 State Duma lawmakers voted in favour of the revisions to the Russian Constitution, with 43 abstentions and no legislator opposed to it.
The constitutional reform passed by the Duma would allow Putin to run for presidency two more times after 2024. However, it will first be reviewed by Russia’s Constitutional Court.
The amendments will also give the president additional powers to fire judges in the country’s higher courts and to reject laws passed by parliament. Other additions include guarantees for pension payouts as well as minimum salaries. It will give parliament additional power to nominate the head of government.
The clutch of constitutional reforms were first announced by Putin in January. At that time, Putin denied all allegations that the amendments will strengthen his grip on power as he approaches the end of his fourth and final presidential term in 2024.
Putin has ruled Russia for more than 20 years. He first served two consecutive four-year terms but as a third straight term would breach the constitutional limit, he became the prime minister in 2008. He returned as president in 2012 after the presidential term was extended to six years. He got re-elected in 2018.