Russian president Vladimir Putin sets July 1 date for vote that could keep him in power for another 16 years

Russian President Vladimir Putin Credit: Alexei Nikolsky/AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a vote on constitutional amendments that could allow him to extend his rule for another 16 years.

Speaking during a televised meeting Monday with officials, Mr Putin said the pace of Russia’s coronavirus outbreak has slowed down, allowing election officials to safely hold the vote on July 1.

If approved, the constitutional amendments would allow Mr Putin to stay in power until 2036 if he chooses.

The Kremlin and St Basil Cathedral. Credit: Pavel Golovkin/AP

The vote was postponed from April due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Officials reported to Mr Putin that voters will have a chance to also vote during the six days before July 1 to reduce crowds and increase safety amid the pandemic.