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Bridging The Gap
Coronavirus delays Russian vote on Putin staying in power
  Wednesday 25 March, 2020
Coronavirus delays Russian vote on Putin staying in power

Russian President Vladimir Putin has postponed a vote on constitutional change that would allow him to stay in power, because of coronavirus concerns.

He said the public vote - previously due to be held on 22 April - would be delayed until a "later date".

The proposed changes include scrapping a ban on allowing Mr Putin to run for office again.

The changes have already been approved by parliament and Russia's constitutional court.

They would give Mr Putin - who is serving his fourth presidential term and has dominated Russian politics for two decades - the right to serve two more consecutive terms.

Later on Wednesday Russia confirmed the deaths of two people who had been diagnosed with the virus. The 88- and 73-year-olds had pre-existing conditions, Ria Novosti reported. Russia has a total of 658 cases.

"The absolute priority for us is the health, life and safety of people. Therefore I believe that the vote should be postponed until a later date," Mr Putin said.

Mr Putin also announced that Russians would not work next week "to slow the speed" of the infection.

But he warned that it was impossible to prevent any spread of the virus at all in Russia because of the country's size.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52038814

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