76% of early voters say YES to constitutional changes, which could keep Putin in power until 2036 – exit polls
Conducted by VCIOM (Russian Public Opinion Research Center) at 800 polling stations in 25 regions of Russia, 76 percent of those who replied said they voted to pass the amendments, with 23.6 percent voting against.
The proposed package of changes would make major alterations to the basic law. Included in the proposed constitution is the ‘nullification’ of President Putin’s time served in office, opening up the possibility for him to serve two more terms and potentially remain as leader until 2036. However, most credible analysts think it’s more about keeping his options open, and avoiding the ‘lame duck’ status, rather than remaining in power until he’s 83.Also on rt.com ‘Stop talking about a successor’: Senator believes new constitution will protect Putin from lame-duck status & stabilize system
The amendments also make significant additions to the constitution with regard to ‘traditional values’, enshrining in basic law the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Controversially, the new constitution would also mention faith in God regarding the country’s heritage.
Regarding economic changes, the government would be forced to regularly index pensions and prohibiting the minimum wage from falling below the subsistence level.
The legitimacy of the vote has been marred by allegations of ballot stuffing, with claims that the amendments are only likely to pass due to faked results. A number of people have also alleged that they were able to vote more than once, with journalist Pavel Lobkov claiming that he voted both online and in person. Some worry this could lead to widespread voter fraud.Also on rt.com British meddling? Russian Election Commission says DDoS attack on constitution vote website was launched from UK
Although the official day for voting is July 1, polling places opened in certain parts of the country on June 25. The exit polls were conducted between June 25-28, and 163,124 people were surveyed.
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