Russia has begun voting on constitutional reforms that could allow President Vladimir Putin to serve another two terms in office.
The official vote is scheduled for 1 July, but authorities said they were opening polling stations a week early to stop overcrowding amid the pandemic.
Although the president has not publicly said he would run again in 2024 when his current term ends, he has said it is vital he has the option.
“Otherwise I know that in two years, instead of working normally at all levels of the state, all eyes will be on the search for potential successors,” he said in an interview earlier this week.
There are around 200 amendments proposed to the constitution. Proposed changes to the constitution include measures to respect the country’s heritage and the orthodox church as well as strengthen the Kremlin over local and municipal authorities.
One change also defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the constitution, thus formally outlawing same-sex marriage.
Some social changes would guarantee that the minimum wage does not fall under the cost of living and ensure that pensions rise over time.