MOSCOW | The Kremlin welcomed on Thursday a “triumph” after the validation in the ballot boxes and revision of the constitution that include allowing Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036, a poll called “lies” by the opposition, while a single region of Russia is opposed to the reform.
“There was a referendum a triumph of confidence in president Putin,” said the spokesman of the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, after this vote is spread out over a week, which was formally concluded on a victory of the ” yes ” to 77,92 %.
The vote “against” collects 21,27 %, according to final results released Thursday by the electoral Commission. The participation was around 65 %.
Dmitry Peskov has welcomed the “level of participation and support extremely high” and the view that these constitutional changes will be “the basis for a better future” for Russia.
The vote, originally planned for April, was postponed because of the pandemic of Covid-19. To avoid too strong crowding in the polling stations, it went on for a week, until Wednesday, and voters were required to carry protective masks and gloves.
There has never been any doubt as to its outcome : the reform had been approved by the legislature in the beginning of the year and the new text of the Constitution is already on sale in bookstores.
The autonomous district of Nénétsie in the Arctic is the only region of Russia where the ” no ” prevailed, with 55,25 % of the vote, according to the official tally. This territory isolated and sparsely inhabited, known for its reindeer herders, could be attached soon to the Arkhangelsk region, which has sparked an opposition movement local.
The opponent Alexei Navalny has called the vote ” a huge lie “, calling on its supporters to mobilize for the next regional elections in September.
One of the amendments the most controversial gives Vladimir Putin the option of two terms at the end of the current in 2024. It will thus have the possibility to stay in the Kremlin until 2036, the year of its 84 years.
The revision also introduces into the Constitution of the conservative principles dear to the president – faith in God, marriage restricted to heterosexuals, patriotic teaching, as well as the social guarantees, such as the indexation of pensions.
According to critics of the Kremlin, the regime has multiplied the tricks to ensure a resounding success and voter turnout strong, with, for example, a lottery with gifts for the participants and vouchers for those voting online.
The NGO Golos, specialized in the observation of elections, has received more than 2,100 reports on possible violations, including cases of civil servants forced to go to the polls.
In a press release, it was denounced Thursday an example of “unprecedented” breach of the sovereignty of the Russian people.
The president of the central electoral Commission, Ella Pamfilova, has for its part held that ” there is no doubt that the vote is valid and legitimate “, according to the Russian agency Ria Novosti.