Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that suggestions he could head a future government as a prime minister were “quite realistic”.
Putin’s term as president ends next year and he is barred from running for a third consecutive term by the constitution.
Speaking at a congress of the main pro-Kremlin force, United Russia, Putin also announced he would head the party’s list for December’s parliamentary elections, guaranteeing him a place in the Duma (lower house of parliament).
“As far as heading the government is concerned – this is a quite realistic suggestion but it is still too early to think about it,” Putin said.
“Two conditions must be met first – United Russia must win the election and a decent, capable and modern person with whom I work as a team should be elected as president,” he added.
All polls published so far give United Russia a huge lead for December’s vote, with at least 50 per cent of the vote. The number two force, the communists, poll around 10-20 per cent.
In addition, Putin’s own popularity and the Kremlin’s control over politics and the media virtually guarantees whoever he anoints as his successor a resounding electoral victory in the presidential vote next March.
Commenting on a suggestion he should head the United Russia party list for the December Duma elections, Putin said to huge applause: “I with gratitude accept your proposal.”
Putin’s future intentions have been the subject of intense speculation, particularly after the president made clear earlier this year that he intended to keep an active role in politics after he left the presidency.
Political analysts have speculated in recent months that Putin might deliberately choose a weak and loyal successor as president and continue ruling the country from a key position such as prime minister.ÂŠ