Putin to become the president again?

Last Tuesday, Russia’s ruling United Russia party confirmed that if required, it will back a constitutional amendment that would allow Vladimir Putin to run for president again. Moreover, Putin did not rule out this offer but told that this step should be first approved by the Constitutional Court.

After a major shake-up of Russian politics in January, Putin announced that it is now official that he needs to step down in 2024 after his second sequential presidential term is over. A former KGB officer has served four presidential terms in total and also served as prime minister. This allowed him to be in complete control of the country for two decades straight.

Of course, after an announcement made by the United Russia, critics have accused Putin of plotting everything out in advance and using amendments to the constitution to extend his rule beyond 2024. Even though it is still unclear what is the plan after his term is over, Putin mentioned that he is not in favor of the Soviet-era practice of having leaders “for life who die in office”.

What is more, Valentina Tereshkova, a United Russia lawmaker, the first woman in space and generally an enthusiastic supporter of Putin’s presidency, officially proposed on Tuesday to change the constitution in a way that would allow Putin to reset his presidential term count back to zero. This, in turn, would allow him to serve another two presidential six year terms.

According to Mr. Putin, this step would mean “removing the restriction for any person, any citizen, including the current president, and allowing them to take part in elections in the future, naturally in open and competitive elections”. This imposes a question of whether the government and people would allow it to happen or not.

To that, Sergei Neverov, also a lawmaker and senior United Russia officer, responded that the party would “no doubt support” this decision. Currently, the majority of MPs in the State Duma (parliament’s lower house) are Putin supporters.

Therefore, on April 22, 2020, a “public vote” is to take place to decide if constitutional changes may move any forward. Meanwhile, the amendment to the constitution was already approved by the Duma.

In his recent speech, Vladimir Putin agreed that even though “a strong presidency is absolutely essential”, the Duma “should get wider powers”. And in the long term, he added, Russia “needs a guaranty that people in power can be changed regularly”, and he insisted that “elections must be open and competitive”.

By Natalia Revishvili,

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