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Russian parliament approves law that could keep Vladimir Putin in office until 2036

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The bill has been criticised by President Vladimir Putin's opponents.
The bill has been criticised by President Vladimir Putin's opponents.   -   Copyright  Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
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Russian MPs have approved a law that gives President Vladimir Putin the right to run for two more terms.

The controversial bill was designed to bring "electoral legislation into line with the new norms of the Constitution", according to the State Duma, the Russian parliament's lower house.

Although Russian Presidents will still be limited to two terms, the restriction "does not apply to those who held the post of head of state before the amendments to the Constitution came into force".

The law therefore effectively resets Vladimir Putin's term in office and could theoretically allow him to remain in the Kremlin until 2036.

Before the law, Putin should be stepping down at the end of his current term in 2024.

The 68-year-old came to power in 2000 and was replaced by his Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the end of his second term in 2008. After a four-year interlude, he was then re-elected president once again in 2012.

According to official figures, the third reading of the bill was passed by 77.92% of the Duma, with a 65% turnout.

In addition, the new legislation introduces a rule stating that anyone who has ever held second citizenship or foreign residency permit cannot become Russian president.

The document also bans citizens convicted of certain felonies from running for parliament for five years, until they have served their sentence.