Putin does not rule out seeking top Kremlin job in 2012

Putin has served two consecutive presidential terms in Russia.

Last Updated: Apr 13, 2011, 23:01 PM IST

Moscow: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir
Putin on Wednesday did not rule out from contesting the next
presidential polls in March 2012, a day after President Dmitry
Medvedev said he would soon announce if he would seek another
term.

"Neither I, nor Dmitry Anatolyevich (Medvedev) have ruled
out that each of us could fight elections," Putin told
reporters commenting on Medvedev`s statement.

A similar announcement was made yesterday by Medvedev in
an interview to Chinese TV.

"The Chinese journalist`s question was not original. I
and Dmitry Medvedev have been asked this question hundred
times over the past years and we have learnt to give a same
answer," Putin was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS.

Putin added that the decision about his candidacy will be
taken.

"There is still almost a year to go before the elections.
All this fuss about the elections does not contribute to the
normal organisation of the work. If we would give some wrong
signals now then half of the (presidential) Administration and
more than half of the Government will stop working in
anticipation of some changes," Putin cautioned.

He said there were 143 million citizens in Russia and
there should not be a single hitch in running the country.

"Everyone should work on his place, I, personally, am
poised for such work and want to prompt all my cabinet
colleagues for this," Putin said.

After serving two consecutive presidential terms allowed
under the Russian constitution, Putin in 2008 had vacated the
top Kremlin job to his chosen successor Medvedev, who so far
has been playing by the rules of the game set in the ruling
tandem.

However, towards the end of his term, Medvedev is trying
to assert himself and has been taking liberty in publicly
arguing with his mentor, who is now eligible to seek a fresh
election in 2012.

A prominent opposition leader, former vice premier Boris
Nemtsov in an interview to Kommersant daily conceded that
Putin has more chances of being elected in March 2012, than
Medvedev.

Yesterday, commenting on Medvedev`s plans to seek
re-election, a senior leader of the ruling United Russia party
Oleg Morozov, also a deputy Speaker of lower house - State
Duma, declared that Medvedev could count on its backing only
if the party leader Putin will not be in the fray.

PTI