Vladimir Putin backs ex-cosmonaut’s plan to extend his stay in power

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Russian President Vladimir Putin says he supports a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow him to seek another term and remain in power.

Mr Putin gave his support to the amendment put forward by a politician, Valentina Tereshkova, who as a Soviet cosmonaut became the first woman to fly to space.

The ex-cosmonaut proposed either scrapping presidential term limits or amending the Russian Constitution to let Mr Putin run again.

A series of constitutional amendments are going to a nationwide vote on April 22.

Mr Putin spoke against scrapping term limits, but backed the idea of revising the ceiling.

Science Museum’s Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age exhibition
Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, stands in front of Vostok-6, the capsule that she piloted into space (Nick Ansell/PA)

Mr Putin’s current six-year term expires in 2024.

The 67-year-old Mr Putin has been in power for more than 20 years, becoming Russia’s longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

He addressed politicians during a divisive debate on constitutional amendments he proposed earlier.

The amendments are up for a second reading.

The Kremlin-controlled lower house, the State Duma, is set to quickly endorse Mr Putin’s proposals.

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