MOSCOW: Russians opened the door to Vladimir Putin staying in power until 2036 by voting overwhelmingly for constitutional changes that will allow him to run again for president twice, but critics said the outcome was falsified on an industrial scale, reports Reuters.
Official results, after 98% of ballots had been counted, showed that the former KGB officer who has ruled Russia for more than two decades as president or prime minister had easily won the right to run for two more six-year terms after the current one ends in 2024. That means Putin, 67, could rule until the age of 83.
The Central Election Commission said 78% of votes counted across the world’s largest country had supported changing the constitution. Just over 21% had voted against, it said.