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Russia’s Federation Council approves bill allowing Putin to run for new term

Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the concert "Listen, Country, this is Leningrad Speaking" on Jan. 27, 2019, marking the 75th anniversary of the complete liberation of Leningrad from the Nazi siege. (Kremlin/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russian parliament’s upper chamber, the Federation Council, has approved a bill containing constitutional amendments that will allow President Vladimir Putin to run for a fifth presidential term in 2024.

A total of 160 members of the chamber voted for the bill on March 11, while one voted against it and three abstained.

The approval came just hours after parliament’s lower chamber, the State Duma, approved the bill in its final reading.

State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin told journalists earlier that about 390 amendments were proposed by Putin and a special working group.

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One of the amendments approved by the State Duma will set Putin’s previous presidential terms back to zero, giving him the right to seek a new term in 2024 after his current second sequential presidential term ends.

This raises the possibility that he could stay in power until 2036 if he wins in 2024 and then gets reelected six years later.

The constitutional changes must be approved by the Constitutional Court and will be considered legally approved if more than half of the country’s voters support it.

A referendum on the issue has been scheduled for April 22.