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Russia holds main voting day on constitutional amendments on July 1

By the decree of the President Vladimir Putin, this day has been declared non-working

MOSCOW, July 1. /TASS/. The main voting day on amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation is to be held nationwide on Wednesday. By the decree of the President Vladimir Putin, this day has been declared non-working.

A public vote is being held on the proposed constitutional amendments. If over 50% of the Russian public approve of the changes, the bill will enter into force.

The vote was initially set to take place on April 22, however, Putin chose to postpone it due to the situation with the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Russia. During a working session earlier, Putin approved July 1, 2020, as the new date for the vote. However, Russians could vote between June 25 and 30, and in two regions of the Russian Federation — Moscow and the Nizhny Novgorod Region — this could be done using remote electronic voting.

On June 30, President Vladimir Putin called on Russians to vote on the amendments to the Constitution, noting the importance on every vote. "I implore you, dear friends, to have your say. Every vote is the most important, the most powerful," Putin said in his video address to the nation on Tuesday. President Putin is sure that by supporting amendments to the Constitution Russians vote for a country where they want to live. "We vote not just for amendments translated in exact legal norms. We vote for a country where we want to live - with modern education and healthcare, a reliable social protection of citizens, with effective power accountable to the society," the head of state said.

Putin will vote on July 1. Earlier, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that the head of state intends to do this directly at the polling station. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin also plans to vote in person. According to the press secretary of the head of the cabinet, Boris Belyakov, Mishustin "will vote at one of the polling stations in Moscow."

The vote on constitutional amendments

On March 11, the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) approved the final reading of the constitutional amendments bill proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. On the same day, it was approved by the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) and Russia’s regional parliaments.

The document proposes to expand the powers of the Russian parliament and the Russian Constitutional Court, a fixed number of presidential terms, as well as the prevalence of the Russian Constitution over international agreements. The document also expands the government’s obligations in the social sphere. The amendments to the Constitution stipulate that the Russian head of state can only serve two terms, however, one of the amendments proposes that the current president can be re-elected if the new version of the Constitution comes into force.