Russian resident Vladimir Putin will have the possibility of extending his rule until 2036
After a weeklong voting period, the polls finally closed on Wednesday, June 1st. The Russian population was called upon to vote in a referendum that was organized to define a set of constitutional changes, one of which would allow Putin to run for two more terms after his current presidency ends in 2024.
National news sources had commenced releasing preliminary results five hours prior to the close that ultimately showed the massive support in favor of the reform. A few hours after the finalization, 30% of the voting stations have already reported that 74% of the total votes have supported the measure that would allow Putin to continue holding power. The votes are still being counted.
The voting turnout throughout the nation was of 65% overall. In a few regions 90% of population allowed to vote casted a ballot.
The voting was organized in attempts to approve a set of constitutional changes. Some of reforms would increase the power of Russian law to overpass international norms, ban same-sex marriage and most notoriously enable Putin the power to run for two more terms.
The reforms had previously been approved by the Parliament at the beginning of the year but Putin called for a referendum to grant legitimacy to these measures. When announcing the referendum, the president push towards the implementation of these changes by stating that they were indispensable to ensure the evolutionary development of the nations.
The government decided to leave the polls open for a week, a measure that has never been implemented before in Russia
Several critics claimed that the prolongation of the voting period was merely a tool used to manipulate the results. They stated that during this time the government implemented tactics to sway people’s opinions. In addition, analysts said that the massive propaganda campaign organized by the government and a lack of unification from the opposition helped Putin obtain the results he desired. Kremlin critics also questioned the validity of the official figures released.