Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law on Monday a change to the country’s constitution that will allow him to run for two more six-year terms, granting himself the chance to remain in power until 2036.
Under the previous constitution, Putin, 68, who has already been in power for more than two decades, would have been required to have stepped down after his second consecutive term ends in 2024.
A copy of the new law was posted on the government’s legal information website on Monday, confirming that the legislation — the success of which was really never in doubt — had been finalized. Prior to the new law, Putin would have been required to step down after his fourth and current term in 2024.
The Russian president, who has been in power for longer than any other Kremlin leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin – said he would decide later whether to run again in 2024 when his current six-year term ends.
He has argued that resetting the term count was necessary to keep his lieutenants focused on their work instead of “darting their eyes in search for possible successors”.
Kremlin opponents have said the constitutional reforms were a pretext to allow Putin to become “president for life”.