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Russia kicks off referendum on constitutional changes that could keep Putin in power until 2036

June 25, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Russia on Thursday kicked off early voting in a national referendum on controversial amendments to the country's constitution that could allow President Vladimir Putin stay in power until 2036, amid reports that the process had been marred by election tampering and compulsory voting.

Moscow (CNN)Russia on Thursday kicked off early voting in a national referendum on controversial amendments to the country's constitution that could allow President Vladimir Putin stay in power until 2036, amid reports that the process had been marred by election tampering and compulsory voting.

Election officials said early voting would be held to aid social distancing: Russia is still reporting around 7,000 new cases each day, according to official statistics.

Ella Pamfilova, the head of the country's Central Election Commission, said the changes do not require a referendum to be considered legitimate, but added that Putin insisted that the changes be put to a nationwide vote.

The Central Elections Committee said that Lobkov committed an administrative offense by voting twice and deemed his report "a provocation," but added that the commissioners overseeing that voting station will be reprimanded.

Golos, an independent non-governmental organization that tracks elections in Russia, has listed more than 700 reports on alleged violations and forced voting in the run-up to the vote, posting screenshots from bosses, school principals and local bureaucrats threatening to fire or reprimand those who refuse to register for voting.

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