76% of Russians back constitutional amendments: preliminary results

Members of an election commission count ballots after voting finished at a polling station in the eastern Siberian city of Chita, Russia, on July 1.  AP

Russia’s Central Elections Commission said 76.24% of citizens had voted in support of constitutional changes, after processing 50% of votes as polls closed on Wednesday night.
Russian voters overwhelmingly backed the constitutional amendments that allow Vladimir Putin to seek two more six-year terms, potentially extending his rule until 2036. 
But independent organizations such as the “NO” movement, which organized independent polling in Moscow and St. Petersburg, say their exit polls show a lower lever of support in Russia’s capital with with 45% of residents voting yes. 
President Vladimir Putin has won a resounding victory in his bid to stay in power until the middle of the next decade, as Russians voted overwhelmingly to endorse the country's political status quo, according to preliminary results.
Russians went to the polls Wednesday to cast ballots in a nationwide referendum on constitutional amendments. The vote paves the way for Putin, who has ruled for two decades, to remain president until 2036.
Campaign literature made little mention of the real purpose of the referendum, framing it as a return to old-fashioned family values, designed to appeal to conservative voters.
"Our country, our constitution, our decision" was the slogan on the information bulletin explaining the constitutional reform to voters. The brochure spelled out a range of amendments, including a provision defining marriage strictly as a "union of a man and a woman."
The brochure glosses over one key point: The changes to the constitution effectively reset the clock on Putin's term limits, allowing him to seek two more six-year terms when his presidency ends in 2024
Russian voters have overwhelmingly backed a ploy by President Vladimir Putin to rule until 2036 in a referendum with little doubt about the outcome, according to preliminary results.
Russia’s Central Election Commission said that 73% of citizens had voted in support of constitutional changes, after processing 25% of votes as polls closed on Wednesday night.
The changes to effectively reset the clock on Putin's term limits, allowing him to seek two more six-year terms when his presidency ends in 2024.
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