The Russian State Duma approves constitutional amendments that allow President Putin to re-run in the elections

The State Duma (lower house of the Russian parliament) agreed on Wednesday to make constitutional amendments, allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to re-run in the elections.

It is noteworthy that Putin, 67, has served as president or prime minister for two decades.

The amendments will be submitted to the Federation Council, which will almost certainly approve them.

Vyacheslav Volodin, head of the State Duma, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as telling reporters that 383 deputies voted in favor of the constitutional amendments, and 43 abstained.

Volodin added that 390 constitutional amendments were voted on.

In the current text, the constitution allows the president to hold two successive terms, which means that Putin will leave the presidency within four years.

It is expected that the Federation Council will ratify the amendments next Saturday, after which they will be brought before the Constitutional Court.

Putin wants to sign the amendments on March 18 and coincides with the anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea.

Putin insists that the amendments must win the approval of citizens through a referendum on April 22 in order for them to begin implementation.

The amendments include setting a minimum wage and pension allocations based on the cost of living, which can persuade citizens to vote in favor of the amendments.

Other amendments would strengthen the authority of the government’s legislative branch, now dominated by Putin’s United Russia party.