London: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
is pushing to seek a second term in office "against the wishes of powerful Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin,", according to a
senior politician from the country`s ruling party.
According to Konstantin Zatulin, a prominent MP with
United Russia, the President`s aides were jockeying to keep him in the Kremlin by eroding Putin`s support in Parliament behind a public facade of unity between the two men.
"Medvedev wants to stay, he has broken the agreement
and now Putin will have to persuade him to back off," he told
British newspaper `The Guardian`.
Until recently, it was widely assumed that Medvedev
would not run in presidential elections next March, so that
Prime Minister Putin could return to his old job and serve two
more terms to 2024, under a secret pact between the two men.
But, Zatulin said: "Medvedev has decided to
put himself forward (as a presidential candidate). He feels
inspired and he senses a certain support."
Asked if Putin and Medvedev might go head to head, the
politician replied: "Yes, I think so."
While Medvedev has no party, Putin leads
United Russia, which he uses to exert control over parliament,
regional leaders and the bureaucracy. The party has said that
Putin is its preferred candidate, and that it will consider
supporting Medvedev only if the prime minister does not run.
Medvedev, on the other hand, wields clout through his
huge presidential administration, and via influential aides
who can manipulate party politics and state media.
However, Zatulin claimed that Kremlin aides, including
the powerful ideologue Vladislav Surkov, were also secretly
cultivating a minor party, Fair Russia, as a potential vehicle