MOSCOW (AP) — A proposal from the province of Chechnya to extend Russia’s limit of two consecutive presidential terms isn’t on President Vladimir Putin’s agenda, the Kremlin said Friday.
Provincial legislators in Chechnya on Thursday put forward an initiative to amend the constitution to allow three consecutive presidential terms. The move that would the set the stage for Putin to stay in office beyond 2024 would require the federal parliament’s approval.
Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Friday the Chechen proposal “isn’t on the president’s agenda” and referred to Putin’s previous statements on the issue.
In March, Putin said he opposed changes in the constitution in the past and has no such plans “for now.”
The 65-year-old Putin was inaugurated Monday for another six-year term. He already is Russia’s longest-serving leader since Josef Stalin.
Putin served two four-year presidential terms in 2000-2008 before shifting into the prime minister’s seat because of term limits while his longtime ally, Dmitry Medvedev, was elected president. Putin reclaimed the presidency in 2012 after the presidential term was extended to six years under Medvedev’s tenure.
In March, Putin laughed off a suggestion that he could take a six-year break before moving to reclaim the presidency in 2030.
“It’s a bit ridiculous, let’s do the math. Shall I sit here until I turn 100? No!” he said.
One way or another, Putin is widely expected to continue calling the shots in Russia even after his current term ends. He could do that by extending the term limits or abolishing them altogether, shifting into a new position of power or naming a loyal placeholder.
However, the necessary groundwork for that is likely to be set later. The Chechen proposal seems to be driven mostly by regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s desire to demonstrate his fealty to Putin.
“I’m sure that 100 percent of the people will support the proposal to extend the limit to three consecutive presidential terms,” Kadyrov said in his blog.