Russian President Vladimir Putin may now pursue two additional presidential terms starting in 2024, according to a bill Russia’s State Duma, or lower house of Parliament, passed Wednesday.
One of the amendments to the Russian Constitution passed on March 24 stipulates that “presidential term limits apply to the incumbent head of state without regard to his previous terms in office,” Russia’s state-run TASS news agency reported Thursday.
The amendment clears the way for Putin to pursue a fifth overall presidential term in 2024 and hold office for two additional terms through 2036. The new bill must be passed by Russia’s Federation Council, the upper house of Parliament, and then signed by Russia’s president before it becomes a law.
Putin is currently serving a second consecutive six-year term as president of Russia. He has remained a top political figure in the country for more than two decades by serving as either president or prime minister.
Other amendments the State Duma passed on Wednesday include a requirement that Russian citizens seeking to serve as the chairperson of the Russian Central Election Commission must be at least 30 years old to pursue the position.
“The document also clarifies the law on parliamentary elections and bans people convicted of low/mid-level felonies from running for parliament for five years after they either serve out their sentence or are cleared of their criminal record,” according to TASS.
The draft law on elections Russia’s State Duma approved on Wednesday was made after Russians voted to adopt 206 constitutional amendments in a nationwide referendum on July 3. Putin first proposed the constitutional changes in January 2020, offering to broaden the powers of Russia’s Parliament and redistribute authority among the state’s branches of government.
“The amendments, which also emphasize the primacy of Russian law over international norms, outlaw same-sex marriages and mention ‘a belief in God’ as a core value, were quickly passed by the Kremlin-controlled legislature,” the Associated Press reported last summer. Putin said at the time that he would “decide later” if he would run again for president in 2024.
“We can ensure stability, security, prosperity, and a decent life only through development, only together and by ourselves,” Putin said during a televised address ahead of the July 3 vote.
“All we have is Putin,” Galina Morozova, 81, told the Moscow Times outside a polling station in central Moscow on July 3 after voting for the constitutional changes. “We have to make sure he stays in power,” she said.