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Officials Reject Referendum On Putin Third Term --> Putin (right) signing autographs for soldiers during a visit to the Southern Federal District on September 26 (epa) September 27, 2006 -- Russia's Central Election Commission has rejected an initiative calling for a constitutional referendum meant to clear the way for President Vladimir Putin to seek a third term in office.

The referendum, was meant to gauge public support for revoking the current constitutional ban on a third consecutive presidential term.

The amendment would theoretically allow Putin to stay in power when his second four-year term expires in 2008.

Several organizations have called for such a change in presidential term limits. The proposal rejected by the Central Election Commission was submitted by a group, called Accord and Stability, operating in the North Caucasus republic of North Ossetia.

Today's ruling appears to leave open the possibility for other political groups to submit similar proposals for a third-term referendum.

Putin has repeatedly said that, in conformity with the constitution, he would not run for a third term.

(Interfax, ITAR-TASS, AP)

Russia Beyond 2008

President Putin is mulling his political future (epa)

THE 2008 QUESTION: President Vladimir Putin's second term of office ends in the spring of 2008. Since the Russian Constitution bars him from seeking a third consecutive term, this event threatens to present a crisis in a country that has a history of managed power transitions. Already, Russian politics are dominated by the ominous 2008 question.
RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a briefing to discuss the prospects of Putin seeking a third term. The featured speakers were RFE/RL Communications Director Don Jensen and political scientist Peter Reddaway of George Washington University.


Listen to Don Jensen's presentation (about 16 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media


Listen to Peter Reddaway's presentation (about 35 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media


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