By Kostas Onisenko
The country’s Central Election Commission called the constitutional referendum process complete today.
According to the results of the referendum, the amendments to the Constitution are approved by 77.92% of the vote, while the turnout reached 65%. The referendum process was held from July 25 to July 1 in order, according to official sources, to prevent crowds in the polling stations.
According to the official results, only the majorities in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug and those who voted in the Russian embassies in New York, Berlin and Vienna opposed the changes. Immediately after the announcement of the results, some opposition politicians, such as Alexei Navalny, accused the election commission of electoral fraud.
Among the changes being promoted to Russia’s new constitution are the “annihilation” of current President Vladimir Putin’s tenure and the possibility of his re-election until 2036. Other changes indicate an increase in the president’s powers over the government and the judiciary.
President Putin has suggested that the text of the revision include that Russia is the successor to the USSR and that the Constitution should ensure the protection not only of its territorial integrity but also that of Russians living in other countries.
Among the points that have raised questions is the one refering to “faith in God,” which was “inherited” from the ancestors. According to DW, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peshkov could not adequately justify what this note means in practice in the new constitution.