Putin acknowledges that coronavirus might still postpone Russia's constitutional plebiscite
At a meeting with Central Election Commissioner Ella Pamfilova on March 17, hours after issuing an executive order that schedules a nationwide vote on constitutional amendments for April 22, Vladimir Putin acknowledged that the plebiscite could be postponed, if the spread of coronavirus presents a serious enough threat to the general public.
“You and I see that political events like elections aren’t being canceled in countries where the situation is far worse than ours. Signing an [executive] order today without a specific date would be more or less pointless. But I’ll repeat again: the law doesn’t limit or restrict us,” the president told Commissioner Pamfilova, whose agency says it's prepared to stage the plebiscite at a later date, if necessary.
Speaking to journalists later in the day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that the spread of COVID-19 could potentially force the authorities to postpone the nationwide vote on constitutional amendments.
On March 17, Vladimir Putin signed an executive order calling for a nationwide vote on proposed constitutional amendments, including revisions that would allow him to run for another two terms in office, potentially extending his presidency to 2036.
Despite reports earlier in the week by multiple media outlets (including this one) that the Kremlin was planning to postpone the plebiscite because of the global coronavirus pandemic, Putin stuck to the previously established date and scheduled the vote on April 22.