Final Vote Result Shows Big Majority for Putin Reforms

From June 25-July 1 Russians voted on the package of constitutional changes proposed by Putin, including a reset of presidential term limits allowing him to run twice again after his current six-year term ends in 2024.

Russians have overwhelmingly backed constitutional reforms that will allow President Vladimir Putin to extend his rule, the Central Elections Commission said Thursday.

With all votes counted, the CEC said 77.92% of voters had backed the reforms, with turnout of about 65%.

Other amendments would strengthen presidential and parliamentary powers, enshrine traditional values including an effective ban on gay marriage and guarantee better minimum wages and pensions.

Russia’s two houses of parliament previously approved the amendments but Putin said they would only take effect if supported by a majority of voters.

Leading Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny described early results showing Russians’ strong backing for the reforms as a «huge lie» that didn’t reflect reality.

Independent election monitor Golos said it has received hundreds of complaints of violations, including people voting more than once and claims that employers had put pressure on staff to cast ballots.

“The vote was indeed unprecedented and will go down in the history of the country as an example of impingement on the sovereignty of the people,” Golos said in a statement Thursday summarizing its monitoring campaign.

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