Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has refused to rule out running for a new term in 2012, raising the possibility of a face-off with his former boss and current prime minister, Vladimir Putin.
AFP - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday he would consider running for a new term in 2012, after strongman Prime Minister Vladmir Putin refused to rule out the possibility of returning to the Kremlin.
"If Putin is not ruling it out, neither am I," Medvedev said at a press conference in Rome following talks with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
"We are close to each other and work well together," he added. "We can come to an agreement. We will take a reasonable decision, as long as Medvedev and Putin have a chance of being elected."
Earlier Thursday in Moscow Putin, who served as president in 2000-2008 and is still widely seen as Russia's most powerful leader, said he would "think about" running for the job again in the 2012 elections.
"I will think about it. There is plenty of time," Putin said in answer to a question during a televised phone-in show.
Putin was obliged by the constitution to step down in 2008 and swapped jobs with his then prime minister Medvedev, but there has been intense speculation that he might be planning to return to the presidency.
The ex-KGB agent Putin, 57, downplayed talk of his political future, however, saying it was more important for him to focus on Russia's current social and economic problems.
"Right now it is only 2009. I think the biggest mistake would be to take efforts going on right now and make them subordinate to the interests of a future election campaign," he said.
In September, Putin said that instead of competing he and Medvedev would "come to an agreement" about who would run in the election.
Asked by one caller about his so-called "tandem" with Medvedev, Putin said their same university background and values allowed them to "effectively work together."
Date created : 2009-12-03