Putin strongly backed in reform vote

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Nearly 78% of Russian voters backed constitutional reforms that could keep President Vladimir Putin in power until 2036, election officials say.

With all the ballots counted, 77.9% voted for the reform package and 21.3% against, the electoral commission said.

The reforms will reset Mr Putin’s term limits to zero in 2024, allowing him to serve two more six-year terms.

Opposition figures denounced the vote, saying he was aiming to be “president for life”, a claim Mr Putin denies.

The Kremlin hailed the vote as a “triumph” and Mr Putin thanked Russians for their “support and trust”, adding that they were “improving the political system, firming up social guarantees, strengthening sovereignty and territorial integrity”.