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Putin Sets April 22 for Vote on Term-Limit Amendments

Russian President Vladimir Putin leads a cabinet meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 17, 2020.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has set April 22 for a nationwide referendum on constitutional amendments that would allow him to remain in power until at least 2036.

Putin signed a decree Tuesday, a day after the country's Constitutional Court approved the amendments. The controversial amendments last week had passed both chambers of the national parliament and were backed by all Russian regions.

The amendments would reset the count on Putin's presidential terms to zero. The court had rejected a similar attempt to change the constitution in 1998 during then-President Boris Yeltsin's second term.

The Central Election Commission said the vote would be postponed if the coronavirus outbreak affected too many people. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Russian Federation rose to 114 Tuesday, but no deaths have been reported.

Putin is currently required to step down in 2024 when his fourth presidential term ends. He avoided the two-term limit by serving as prime minister from 2008 to 2012, between his second and third terms as president.

The amendments, if passed, would allow him to run for the next two six-year terms.

Putin has ruled Russia either as president or prime minister since 1999.