(MOSCOW) — Russian President Vladimir Putin says he supports a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow him to seek another term and remain in power.
Putin gave his support Tuesday to the amendment put forward by Valentina Tereshkova, a lawmaker who as a Soviet cosmonaut became the first woman to fly to space. Tereshkova proposed either scrapping presidential term limits or amending the Russian Constitution to let Putin run again. A series of constitutional amendments are going to a nationwide vote on April 22.
“The very existence of an opportunity for the current president (to get re-elected), given his major gravitas, would be a stabilizing factor for our society,” Tereshkova told the Kremlin-controlled State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, on Tuesday.
Putin spoke against scrapping term limits, but backed the idea of revising the ceiling. The current law limits presidents to two consecutive terms. Putin’s current six-year term expires in 2024.
The 67-year-old Putin has been in power for more than 20 years, becoming Russia’s longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
He addressed lawmakers during a divisive debate on constitutional amendments he proposed earlier. The amendments are up for a second reading.
The Kremlin-controlled lower house, the State Duma, is set to quickly endorse Putin’s proposals.