Russia ruling party confirms Putin as candidate
Russia's ruling party on Friday formally confirmed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as its candidate for the March 2012 presidential election.
"United Russia proposes its leader, the party leader, Vladimir Vladimirovitch Putin, for the post of president of Russia," the party said in an address published on its website.
The statement only confirms what Putin himself announced on September 24 at a glitzy ruling party congress when he said he would seek a third term after President Dmitry Medvedev.
Under constitutional changes pushed forward by Medvedev and which many long suspected were aimed at further strengthening Putin, the new president will have a six-year mandate rather than four years as before.
This means that if the 59-year-old Putin again served the two maximum consecutive terms, he could stay in power until 2024, by which time he would be 72 and the longest-serving Moscow leader since dictator Josef Stalin.
© 2011 AFP