Vladimir Putin: Putin delays referendum on plan to stay in power over Virus

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Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday the public vote on his constitutional reforms must be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and declared next week a public holiday.

“I believe the voting must be postponed to a later date,” Putin said of the April 22 plebiscite in a rare televised address in which he called on Russians to show solidarity.

The reforms, proposed by the president and approved by lawmakers over the last few months, would reset presidential term limits and potentially allow Putin, in power for 20 years, to stay in office until 2036.

Putin also took the unusual step of declaring next week a non-working week. “The long holidays are provided to slow the speed of expansion of the disease,” he said. Unlike other countries, Russia has not yet introduced mandatory at home sheltering. afp

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