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Putin not to answer premier proposal soon
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Russian President Vladimir Putin will not give an immediate response to a proposal that he become prime minister once his presidential term ends, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Wednesday.


Putin called the proposal "very interesting... But Putin will decide on this, and possibly later," Ivanov was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying.


"This proposal is aimed first of all at the preservation of continuity of the policy that has been pursued over the past seven years, at the further onward development of all spheres of Russia's life -- economic, social and defense ones, in order the tempo keeps and increases," Ivanov said.


Dmitry Medvedev, a nominated candidate for next March's presidential election, proposed on Tuesday that Putin become prime minister after leaving the Kremlin, while vowing to maintain policy continuity.


"As I confirm my readiness to run for Russian president, I request that he (Putin) gives his principal consent to head the Russian government after the new president is elected," RIA Novosti news agency quoted Medvedev as saying.


United Russia, Fair Russia, and Agrarian and Civil Force jointly nominated Medvedev as the candidate for next March's presidential election on Monday. He will be officially nominated for the candidacy at the United Russia congress on Dec. 17.


The support of four parties for a single candidate means there is a realistic chance of building a stable government in Russia, Putin said earlier.


The presidential race formally kicked off in Russia on Nov. 28 when the date for elections to choose a successor to Putin was set for March 2, 2008.


Under the constitution, the current president is forbidden from seeking a third term. Putin has pledged to step down next year but vowed to contribute to the nation after that.


Putin said on Oct. 1 that he may become prime minister on two conditions -- if the United Russia party won control of parliament and if a capable person he could work with as a team is elected Russia's President in March.


The United Russia Party won overwhelmingly in the recent parliamentary elections, having secured 64.3 percent of the vote and won 315 out of the 450 Duma seats.


(Xinhua News Agency December 13, 2007)

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