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Russian lawmakers set presidential vote for March, clearing path for Putin’s 5th term

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MOSCOW >> Russian lawmakers on Thursday set the date of the 2024 presidential election for March 17, moving Vladimir Putin closer to a fifth term in office.

Putin, 71, hasn’t yet announced his intention to run again, but he is widely expected to do so in the coming days now that the date has been set.

Under constitutional reforms he orchestrated, he is eligible to seek two more six-year terms after his current one expires next year.

Having established tight control over Russia’s political system, Putin’s victory is all but assured. Prominent critics who could challenge him on the ballot are either in jail or living abroad, and most independent media have been banned.

Neither the costly, drawn-out military campaign in Ukraine, nor a failed rebellion last summer by mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin appear to have affected his high approval ratings reported by independent pollsters.

The March election clears the way for him to remain in power at least until 2030.

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