“The date is impeccable from a legal point of view”: Putin approves vote on Constitution on July 1
The situation is improving
On 1 June, Vladimir Putin held a meeting on holding the national vote on amendments to the Constitution. He justified the need to return to work on this process as follows:
“Since we started fighting the pandemic, we have managed to solve the main task — to prevent the explosive nature of the situation from developing in a negative scenario. This allows us to get back to normal life. As we can see, the situation is gradually stabilising. Therefore, we need to work together with you once again to work on amendments to the Constitution.”
The president listened to the chief sanitary doctor of the Russian Federation, Anna Popova, who said: the growth rate has decreased by 13 times and is 2% for the country as a whole. The prevalence rate has decreased by 3 times (the indicator that shows how many people can infect a sick person before they are isolated). More than half of the cases that are detected are asymptomatic. And what is most encouraging is that after the restrictions are relaxed, the situation is not going back to the negative side.
“July 1 looks like a good day”
Ella Pamfilova, the сhairperson of the Central Electoral Commission of the Russian Federation, anxiously noted that it is no longer necessary to postpone further and made a proposal to hold the nationwide vote on amendments to the Constitution on July 1 (if Popova does not object). Popova did not object. Vladimir Putin listened carefully to all of them and then said that he considered July 1 a suitable day.
“July 1 looks like a good day. From a legal point of view, this date is impeccable. It is going to be 30 days, this will give people the opportunity to once again return to all the amendments and determine their attitude to them. And second, we still have a whole month to take additional steps to improve the situation," the president said.
The head of the state also urged not to skimp on voting. But first I asked the minister of education whether the organization of voting would prevent the Unified State Exams. He replied that there were no obstacles.
Let us remind that the vote was supposed to be held on April 22. However, due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the president postponed it indefinitely. The amendments include a package of various changes to the basic law of the country, in particular, it is proposed to reset all previous terms of the current president, which will give him the opportunity to be elected to this post two more times.
Disposable pens and safety of journalists
Ella Pamfilova told how they are going to protect themselves from the coronavirus at the polling stations. In general, there is nothing fundamentally new in the procedure: the voting participants will be as dispersed as possible. Where possible, the process will be contactless. Protection will be provided not only to members of the commission but also to observers, journalists, and even voters.
Members of election commissions will pass tests for coronavirus, and the flow of people at the polling stations will be separated so that they do not intersect at the entrance and exit. One of the innovations is disposable pens, which will be provided to participants in the process, as Pamfilova said.
The voting day is declared a public holiday throughout Russia.