Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday gave final approval to legislation allowing him to hold office for two additional six-year terms, giving himself the possibility to stay in power until 2036.
The 68-year-old Russian leader, who has already been in power for more than two decades, signed off on the bill Monday, according to a copy posted on the government’s legal information portal.
Putin proposed the change last year as part of constitutional reforms that Russians overwhelmingly backed in a vote in July. Lawmakers approved the new bill last month.
The legislation will allow Putin to run in presidential elections again after his current and second consecutive term expires in 2024.
Putin was first elected president in 2000 and served two consecutive four-year terms. His ally Dmitry Medvedev took his place in 2008, which critics saw as a way around Russia’s limit on two consecutive terms for presidents.
While in office, Medvedev signed off on legislation extending terms to six years starting with the next president.
Putin then returned to the Kremlin in 2012, winning re-election in 2018.
Kremlin opponents have criticized the legislation allowing him to run for two more terms, calling it a pretext to allow Putin to become “president for life”.