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Putin says will not change constitution to cling to power

PTI Moscow | Updated on March 10, 2018 Published on March 10, 2018

Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is expected to be re-elected for a fourth term in an upcoming ballot, said today he had no plans to change the constitution to stay in the Kremlin beyond 2024.

Asked by the US television network NBC whether he would follow in the footsteps of China’s Xi Jinping, who is eyeing a limitless tenure, Putin insisted he had no such intentions.

“I never changed the constitution, I did not do it to suit myself and I have no such plans to do so today,” he said in an interview whose transcript was released by the Kremlin on today.

Critics accuse Putin, who was first elected president in 2000 and is running for a fourth term in March 18 polls, of harbouring ambitions to stay in power indefinitely.

Putin has always prided himself on respecting the constitution, which bars him from serving more than two presidential terms in a row.

In 2008, Putin became prime minister but maintained his grip on power, with his protege Dmitry Medvedev serving as president until 2012 when Putin returned to the Kremlin in the face of huge opposition protests.

He rejected suggestions that he could not quit power because it would put him in danger, saying he heard “a lot of ravings on this subject“.

Published on March 10, 2018
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