Russian court backs Putin presidential 'reset' plan

Tuesday, 17 Mar, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin has thrown his support behind a constitutional amendment which will allow him to stay in power beyond the end of his current term in 2024.

However, he made it clear that the proposal came from Valentina Tereshkova last Tuesday, when the package of constitutional amendments was debated at the Duma (Lower House of Parliament), before being submitted to vote in a second reading.

A former KGB officer, Putin is now required by the constitution to step down in 2024 when his second sequential and fourth presidential term ends. Putin's critics called for protests, condemning the move as a way to keep him in office after he hits his term limit in 2024.

Putin's intervention raised the prospect of his serving another two six-year consecutive terms after 2024, though the Kremlin points out that Putin has not yet said whether he will run again in 2024.

It must still be approved by the country's Constitutional Court and in a referendum set for April 22.

"Putin has been in power for 20 years, and yet he is going to run for the first time", he tweeted earlier this week.

"The Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) has received the results of voting in all 85 regional parliaments", said Klishas.

The Kremlin on Friday told journalists who cover President Vladimir Putin to stay away from official events if they felt unwell as a precautionary measure to protect Kremlin staff from the coronavirus.

Such a scenario would see him wield power longer than Soviet leader Josef Stalin, but still leave him well short of Tsar Peter the Great, who reigned for 43 years. Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny has denounced the changes.

The opposition has called for mass rally against the plan but gatherings of more than 5,000 people are now banned in Moscow over coronavirus fears. Many of them said in court that they were tortured by the FSB.

"Specifically this refers to the sum total of what you have listed: coronavirus, which has very profound implications for the world economy right now and potentially can have more serious consequences for the world economy", he said.

Putin appeared before the Duma on Tuesday after lawmakers proposed a series of amendments to a package of constitutional reforms he announced in January.