MOSCOW -- Russia's lower chamber of parliament, the State Duma, has approved a constitutional amendment that would allow President Vladimir Putin to run for a new term in 2024.
Currently, the constitution allows for a president to serve for two consecutive six-year terms. Putin, 67, is set to step down in 2024 when his second sequential presidential term ends.
On March 10, 380 lawmakers voted for the amendment, 43 voted against it, and one lawmaker abstained.
Just ahead of the vote to approve the measure, Putin said he agreed with it, but only if it is approved by the Constitutional Court.
"In principle, this option would be possible, but on one condition -- if the Constitutional Court gives an official ruling that such an amendment would not contradict the principles and main provisions of the constitution," Putin said in an address to the State Duma.
Putin talked to the parliament less than an hour after lawmaker Valentina Tereshkova, who came the world's first woman in space in 1963, proposed to allow Putin to run again in 2024.
Tereshkova said "it's necessary either to lift the restriction on the number of presidential terms or, in case the situation requires it or people demand it, to allow the incumbent president to run for reelection after the amended constitution takes force," adding that Putin's previous presidential terms will be set back to zero.
According to the approved amendments, Putin may stay in power until 2036 if he wins in 2024 and then is reelected six years later.
Putin said that he was against removal of the presidential terms limit, but added that he agrees with the second part of Tereshkova’s proposal with the caveat that the Constitutional Court approves of it.
In January, Putin called for a series of amendments that amounted to a major restructuring of legal powers between the presidency and the parliament.
Putin's critics said then that the Russian leader, who has ruled the country as a president or prime minister for more than 20 years, may be laying the groundwork to hold on to power after his current term expires in 2024.
Putin has rejected such suggestions, saying he does not plan to cling to power via changing the constitution.