On Wednesday March 11, the Russian Duma (lower house of the state parliament) and the Federation Council (upper house) endorsed the constitutional amendments proposed by president Vladimir Putin, including provisions that allow Putin a rerun in the next presidential elections. The proposal was backed by the incumbent United Russia party, Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) and Just Russia in the parliament. Meanwhile, members of the Communist Party of Russian Federation (KPRF) abstained from the final vote in the Duma. On Tuesday, Putin himself had shared his willingness for a rerun in the next presidential elections, if the constitutional court in the country allowed him to do so.
The bill must now be endorsed by two-third of the country’s regional parliaments before being put up for a vote in a national referendum in April. According to reports, leftist members in several regional parliaments have opposed voting in favor of the bill which allows Putin to further cling to power.
On March 12, Thursday, activists of the Left Front held a series of single pickets outside the Legislative Assembly of Penza against Putin’s eternal rule, while the assembly was debating the constitutional amendments passed by the parliament. Members of the KPRF in the Moscow City Duma also opposed the amendments which give Putin a chance for return.
First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Red Front, Viktor Tyulkin, said: “today, the regime is helping to strengthen absolutism.”
Putin had given a call for constitutional reforms on January 15 which led to widespread speculation and confusion among domestic and international political observers. With the latest state of affairs, Putin’s ambitions to cling to power are becoming more apparent.