At Party Congress, Medvedev Backs Putin For Russian President

Russian President Dmitry Medvedv has told a ruling party congress that ex-President and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin should be the next president of Russia, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.

Medvedev made the proposal to nominate Putin for next year’s race on the second day of the United Russia annual congress in Moscow.

“I think it would be correct for the congress to support the candidacy of the party chairman, Vladimir Putin, to the post of president of the country,” Medvedev was quoted as saying by AFP.

Earlier, Putin had said Medvedev would head the ruling party’s electoral list in Russia’s upcoming parliamentary elections on December 4.

Medvedev accepted the spot atop the voting list and pledged his willingness to work hard on practical aspects of government work, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reported. Echoing statements from his 2008 campaign for president, Medvedev listed his priorities as modernizing Russia’s economy, ushering in social safeguards, and battling corruption.

Putin also told the congress that he and Medvedev agreed on their future roles long ago.

Both Putin, 58, and Medvedev, 46, have previously said they could run for president in Russia’s March presidential election. But with less than six months left before the presidential vote, neither man has announced his candidacy.

Many observers of Russia’s political landscape have long argued that Putin never truly relinquished much power when he stepped down from the presidency in 2008 after two consecutive terms — the constitutional limit — and speculated that he would engineer a return to the presidency.

About 11,000 delegates are attending United Russia’s weekend congress, which opened on September 23.

compiled from RFE/RL and agency reports

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