Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that could keep him in office till 2036. His current term ends in 2024 but the legislation allows him to run for two more six-year terms, after changes were made to the constitution last year.
Had the constitutional change not been approved in a nationwide referendum last year, Putin’s second consecutive and fourth overall presidential term would have ended in 2024.
On Monday, Putin signed the law that resets his number of terms served, allowing him to extend his 20-year rule until he turns 83.
Critics have panned last year’s vote on sweeping constitutional changes as a pretext to allow Putin to become “president for life”. Putin has said he hasn’t decided yet whether he will run for president again.
Putin is currently in his fourth term as president of Russia, being elected to office in 2000, 2004, 2012 and 2018, with a stint as prime minister between 2008 and 2012 due to term limits at the time.
If he stays on in power till 2036, Putin will be the longest running leader of Russia, surpassing the tenure of Joseph Stalin, who held power in the erstwhile the Soviet Union for 29 years.