The State Duma will vote this week on a United Russia-sponsored amendment to the electoral law that might allow President Vladimir Putin to serve a third term. The bill, however, appears to be more of a show of loyalty to the Kremlin than a serious attempt to extend Putin's rule.
Under the amendment, popularly elected leaders in the executive branch of power -- the president and mayors -- could run for a third term if early elections were held before their second term expired and a court found the early election invalid and ordered a new vote.
The bill could allow Putin to run for a third term if he stepped down before the end of his second term in spring 2008 and a subsequent early election was declared invalid. A presidential election can be declared invalid if voter turnout is less than 50 percent or if more voters pick "against all" than any candidate.
Vladimir Pligin, the chairman of the Constitution and State Affairs Committee, stressed Friday that the amendment was introduced "to regulate the elections of mayors who resign before their terms end" and is not intended to help Putin retain power, Interfax reported. He said the wording of the amendment needed to be edited to avoid misunderstanding by the media.
Putin has repeatedly ruled out the possibility that he might seek a third term. However, he half-jokingly hinted during a trip to Germany in April that he might run in 2012.
Based in London, we are an informal group dedicated to supporting democracy and human rights throughout
the former Soviet Union. Our aims are:
Informing the public about issues in this area that receive little coverage in the Western media.
Staging peaceful demonstrations and letter-writing campaigns in support of specific causes.
Supporting and publicising nonviolent pro-democracy groups throughout the region.
Encouraging European and American involvement.
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