Russia's Putin says he may seek another term if constitutional changes passed

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Vladimir Putin is considering running for a new term as Russian president if voters approve constitutional changes that would enable him, Russian news agencies quoted him in an interview on Sunday.
Russia will hold a nationwide vote on proposed amendments to the constitution from June 25 through July 1, including an amendment that would allow Putin to seek two more six-year terms as president when his current mandate ends in 2024.
Opponents say the reforms should allow Putin to hold power until 2036 and be tied to a constitutional coup. The Kremlin says they are necessary to strengthen the role of Parliament and to improve social policy and public administration.
"I do not rule out the possibility of a candidacy if this (option) is provided for in the constitution. We will see," Putin was quoted in an interview with the state television that was shown in Russia before the broadcast in the Far East of Russia. "I haven't decided anything yet."
The changes the Russians will vote on, which have already been approved by Parliament and the Constitutional Court, would put Putin's term as president to zero. He would not be able to seek a new term under the current constitutional limits.
The changes in the vote are generally expected to be approved.
Putin, who has been in power for two decades and is now 67, suggested that finding a candidate for his successor could become a distraction if he doesn't run again.
"If this does not happen, in about two years - and I know from my own experience - the normal working rhythm of many parts of the government will be replaced by the search for possible successors," quoted the Interfax news agency.
"We have to work and not look for successors," he said.

(Letter from Polina Ivanova, editor at Timothy Heritage)

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