On July 2, Thursday, the Russia’s central election commission tallied the results of a week-long national vote on constitutional reforms that granted President Vladimir Putin the right to remain in power beyond his current tenure for two more six-year terms until 2036.
Such an outcome was expected. And a lot of speculation already has been formed given Russia’s previous track record of electoral fraud. While the commission had clearly stated that the voting procedure had been completely transparent and officials had done everything to ensure its integrity. It said – Nearly 77.92 percent voted in the support to pass the amendment and only 21 percent voted against it. While on the other hand, the opposition leader Alexei Navalny had a completely different viewpoint and called the vote a sham. “We’ll never recognize this result”, Navalny cited in a video. He further added: “What Putin fears most is the street,”. “He … will not leave until we start to take to the streets in the hundreds of thousands and in the millions.”
The United States and Europian Union voiced their concern over the reports of voter coercion and called Russia to thoroughly investigate reported vote irregularities. Russians turned out to be in support of Putin and shunned the critics by describing critics as constitutional coups. President Putin thanked Russians in televised remarks citing: “Thank you very much for your support and trust,”. He further reiterated – These amendments were necessary as they “improve the political system and fortify social guarantees” as well as “strengthen sovereignty.” The vote, which was originally scheduled for April 22, was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.