Russian Prime Minister Putin to run for presidency next year


MOSCOW (BNO NEWS) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Saturday announced he will participate in next year's presidential elections for a third term as president. It is a move which had been expected for years.

The announcement was made during the United Russia party congress in Moscow where both President Dmitry Medvedev and Putin were addressing supporters about the upcoming elections. Medvedev used his speech to endorse Putin's presidential run.

"I propose we decide on another very important issue which naturally concerns the party and all of our people who follow politics, namely the candidate for the role of president," Medvedev told the audience. "[..] I think it's right that the party congress support the candidacy of the current prime minister, Vladimir Putin, in the role of the country's president."

Medvedev's endorsement was met with applause from the audience, and the Russian leader admitted that this scenario had been planned a long time ago. "What we are proposing to the congress is a deeply thought-through decision," he said. "And even more, we already discussed this scenario back when we first formed a friendly alliance."

Medvedev added: "But while we waited a long time to reveal publicly our positions and the scenario for the next elections, I hope that you, and our citizens, will understand that this was a matter of political expediency, linked to the specific political practices of our country. But I would like to emphasize one thing: we have always told the truth."

In response to Medvedev's endorsement, Putin said he welcomed the support. "I want to express to you my gratitude for the positive response to the invitation for me to stand as president," he told party members. "For me this is a great honor. Thank you. I hope for your support in the future. After the presidential elections we will form a new government."

With Putin likely to win a presidential run next year, the prime minister also proposed Medvedev to head the election list of United Russia during the legislative elections. This would make him prime minister at the end of his presidential term. "I suggest that United Russia's list for the State Duma elections on December 4 this year be headed by President Dmitry Medvedev," Putin said. "I believe that this will enhance the party's prestige and will guarantee its anticipated and honest victory."

Putin first became acting president in December 1999 until he was elected for his first full term which began in May 2000. He won re-election in March 2004 and continued to serve in the country's highest office until May 2008 when term limits prevented him from running for a third consecutive presidential term.

Days before the end of Putin's second term as president, he undertook a series of controversial steps to increase the power of the prime minister. Medvedev had been widely expected to serve only one term so Putin could again become president after a short break.

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