'You can hope': Medvedev dodges 2012 election question again

19th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday once again dodged a direct question on whether he will seek re-election next year, telling a reporter that there was always hope.

During a meeting with his Austrian counterpart Heinz Fischer, Medvedev was asked whether the two presidents could be expected to hold the same meeting again next year.

"If are asking me something along the lines of 'can one hope', than the answer is 'you can absolutely, certainly hope'," Medvedev said to laughter from reporters, in comments broadcast on television.

Earlier, Medvedev was slammed by the Russian media for refusing to say directly whether he planned to seek re-election during the first broad-ranging press conference of his presidency on Wednesday.

"This kind of decision has to be made when all the conditions are right, when it has the final political effect," a seemingly exasperated Medvedev during Wednesday's news conference.

Although officially serving as president, Medvedev is widely viewed as the junior partner to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, his mentor and predecessor who has also refused to rule out running for the country's top job next year.

Medvedev and Putin have both vowed to sit down and decide which of them should run, although analysts believe the ultimate decision will rest with the prime minister.

© 2011 AFP

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