Putin hints at presidential term limit in marathon press conference

WION Web Team Moscow Dec 19, 2019, 09.56 PM(IST)

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during annual press conference in Moscow Photograph:( AFP )

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Putin is due to step down in 2024 which will be the end of his fourth presidential term.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, 67, in his year-end press conference dropped broad hints that he might not seek another term in 2024.

"Your humble servant served two successive terms and then stepped down and had the constitutional right to return to the post of president," he said, adding, "but some of our political scientists and activists do not like this and maybe this could be removed, possibly."

The press conference attended by 1,800 journalists especially accredited for the event were taken by surprise as Putin made the remark which proved to be the biggest talking point of the marathon event.

“One thing that could be changed about these (presidential) terms is removing the clause about 'successive' (terms)," Putin said.

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The Russian presidency was handed to Putin by Boris Yeltsin in 1999, the Russian leader served as president from 2000 to 2008 and then as premier from 2000 to 2012 and then returned as president in 2019.

Putin is due to step down in 2024 which will be the end of his fourth presidential term. Putin is barred from immediately running again under the Russian constitution.

The four hours and twenty-five minutes press conference saw the Russian president answer several questions specifically on Trump impeachment and the WADA ban on Russian sports.

Putin looked to back Trump, declaring that the impeachment was based on "made-up grounds".

"It still needs to go through the Senate, where the Republicans have a majority," Putin said.

"And it is hardly likely that they are going to push out of office a representative of their own party, on grounds that are absolutely made-up," he added.

On the WADA ban, he said: "If WADA does not have any issues with our national Olympic committee our team must compete under its flag."

WADA had banned Russia for four years from major global events, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar over doping manuplation.

"Any punishment should be individual," he added.

"If a majority of our athletes are clean how is it possible to slap sanctions against them for someone else's actions?"

"The WADA decision contradicts the Olympic Charter," Putin added.

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