Putin spokesman steps in to quash leadership speculation

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has tried to quash pre-emptive media speculation that the prime minister will head the ruling United Russia party’s list in a crucial parliamentary vote in December.

“It’s too early to talk about this, let’s wait for the party congress,” Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti on Friday.

Putin arrived at the congress in central Moscow on Friday afternoon but is expected to deliver his main address on Saturday.

Some Russian media cited a top party figure as saying on Friday that Putin will head the list, while other media said President Dmitry Medvedev may lead the party into the poll.

United Russia, which is headed by Putin and dominates parliament, is holding a general congress on Friday and Saturday.

There is intense speculation that Medvedev will use the congress to announce whether he or Putin will stand in presidential elections next March.

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