Putin may seek another term if constitutional changes passed

We must be working, not looking for successors, he insists

Photo: AP Russian President Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin is considering running for a new term as Russia’s president if voters approve constitutional changes that would enable him to do so, Russian news agencies quoted him as saying in an interview on Sunday.

“I do not rule out the possibility of running for office, if this (option) comes up in the constitution. We’ll see,” Putin was quoted as saying in an interview with state TV that was shown in Russia’s far east before airing in western Russia.

Putin, who has been in power for two decades, suggested that, otherwise, hunt for a candidate to succeed him could cause a serious distraction.

“If this doesn’t happen, then in about two years - and I know this from personal experience - the normal rhythm of work of many parts of government will be replaced by a search for possible successors,” Interfax news agency cited him as saying.

“We must be working, not looking for successors,” he said.

Russia is to hold a nationwide vote from 25 June  to July 1 on proposed changes to the constitution, including an amendment that would allow Putin to seek two more six-year terms as president when his current mandate ends in 2024. The changes that Russians will vote on, already approved by parliament and the Constitutional Court, would reset Putin’s presidential term tally to zero. He would not be able to seek a new term under current constitutional limits.

Opponents say the reforms are designed to allow Putin to keep power until 2036 and amount to a constitutional coup. The Kremlin says they are needed to strengthen the role of parliament and improve social policy and public administration.

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