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Russia’s judiciary approves amendments to let Putin stay in power

Russia's Constitutional Court announced on Monday that it has approved a raft of amendments, including a stipulation to enable President Vladimir Putin to run for re-election.

Russia’s Constitutional Court announced on Monday that it has approved a raft of amendments, including a stipulation to enable President Vladimir Putin to run for re-election.

Putin, 67, has been in power as president or prime minister for two decades. He is the longest-serving Soviet or Russian leader since Joseph Stalin.

The amendments, which Putin has signed but have not yet gone into effect, are in compliance with current constitutional law, according to a conclusion issued by the court.

The constitution currently lets a president serve two consecutive terms, meaning that Putin would have to depart in four years. The new stipulation would enable him to be elected to serve another two terms, until 2036.

Putin served two four-year terms as president from 2000 to 2008. After that the constitution was amended to provide six-year terms, and Putin returned the presidency in 2012 and was re-elected in 2018.

The bill containing the amendments was passed by both houses of parliament and signed by Putin within a week.

Seeking popular approval, Putin has insisted that the amendments should be ratified by a nationwide referendum on April 22 to go into effect.

The amendments include establishing a minimum wage and pension allocations based on the cost of living, aspects that could help to convince the populace to vote in favour.

Other amendments would boost the authority of the government’s legislative branch, currently controlled by the Putin-backed political party, United Russia.

The legislation would also make it so any presidential candidate must have lived in the country for the past 25 years, essentially ruling out significant opposition politicians Alexei Navalny and Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

The amendments would also enshrine a ban on gay marriage in Russia’s constitution, as well as an attestation of faith in God, a marked departure from the atheist doctrine of the Soviet Union.

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