Medvedev denies Russia vote 'predetermined'
President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday denied that the fate of Russia's elections was predetermined by his decision to step down in favour of his political mentor Vladimir Putin.
"How can they be predetermined," news agencies quoted Medvedev as saying in a Russian television interview to be aired on the country's main channels on Friday evening.
"Let the people decide who they vote for. Let them decide whether they support a particular political force or not."
Medvedev told a ruling party congress on September 24 that he would not be contesting the presidential election next March and had asked Putin -- his current prime minister and predecessor as head of state -- to run in his place.
The move all but assures the former KGB agent's return to a post that he filled from 2000-2008 and could now hold for up to two more six-year terms.
Putin in turn announced plans to name Medvedev as his prime minister in a job swap that was condemned by Russia's enfeebled opposition as a practice reminiscent of Soviet times.
© 2011 AFP