Russia's parliament is expected to consider a constitutional amendment that would allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to run in the 2024 election — a move that could potentially extend his rule until he is 77, if not older.
The proposal would change Russia's constitution so that the president can hold office for three consecutive terms rather than the current limit of two. Putin, who has held high office in Russia since 1999, had previously stepped out of the president's office to become prime minister in 2008 because of term limits.
While Putin was out of the Kremlin, his protege Dmitry Medvedev took over the presidency — and presided over a constitutional amendment that lengthened subsequent presidential terms from four years to six. Putin returned to the presidency in 2012 and won reelection this year.
In theory, the Duma could put its support behind the proposal. However, the idea has received scant media attention in Russia, and many analysts doubt that the Kremlin would allow such an important decision on term limits so early into Putin's second term.
The proposal to amend the constitution to three consecutive presidential terms rather than two was posted to the State Duma website Friday. It was put forward by the parliament in Chechnya, the Russian region headed by the publicity-savvy Ramzan Kadyrov — a vocal supporter of Putin who has called the Russian president a “superhero” and said he should rule for life.
In a note that explained the proposal, the Chechen parliament argued that the term change was required to preserver “the achieved sociopolitical stability” in Russia, while still adhering to diplomatic principles.
There has long been speculation that Putin might try to avoid stepping out of the Kremlin again in 2024. If he does run again, it seems likely he would win: In the election of March 18, he won 77 percent of the vote. His nearest rival got 12 percent.
However, the Kremlin has played down the suggestion that Putin might run again in 2024. Earlier this month, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Chechen suggestion was “a constitutional question” and “not an item on the president's agenda.”
Putin himself has also suggested that he had grown tired of holding high political office and had repeatedly claimed he might not even run in the 2018 election. As the results came in March 18, he played down the idea of running again in 2024 or later elections. “Let's count — what, will I be sitting here until I'm 100 years old?” he told reporters.
If Putin does ultimately decide to stay in power, his time as Russian leader, de-facto and official, may end up exceeding the 29 years that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin spent at the height of power in Moscow.
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