Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin does not rule out his running for President in the next presidential election in 2012.
Mr. Putin, who stepped down as President in 2008 after two four-year terms in office, said on Friday that he had not decided yet whether to contest in 2012 when the current term of his chosen successor, Dmitry Medvedev, ends. Mr. Putin, however, denied that he and Mr. Medvedev could run against each other.
"Was there any competition in 2008? No. Then we won't have any in 2012," he said replying to a question at a meeting of the international Valdai Discussion Club outside Moscow. "We will not compete; we will sit down, think it over and reach a joint decision because we are of the same blood and of the same political outlook," he said.
Mr. Putin said he and Mr. Medvedev had clearly defined spheres of responsibility and were not stepping on each other's turf. "We are quite comfortable working in tandem," he said.
The two leaders would take a decision on who should run in 2012 on the basis of the situation prevailing in Russia at that time, the position of the party he headed, United Russia, and their personal plans, Mr. Putin said.
The reference to United Russia, which is the ruling party and is likely to retain its dominant position at least until 2012, may be an indication that Mr. Putin does plan to return as President. Mr. Medvedev is not a member of any party.