Medvedev aide drops hint on second term bid

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President Dmitry Medvedev's modernisation plans for Russia are not just for one presidential term, his spokeswoman said Friday, in a possible hint he is interested in a second mandate in 2012.

Kremlin spokeswoman Natalya Timakova did not directly say that Medvedev would run in 2012 polls, but her comments come amid fizzing speculation over whether Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will attempt a return to the presidency.

"The plans set out by the president have not been formulated for one, two or three years," she told state English language channel Russia Today in an interview whose transcript was published by Russian news agencies.

"The modernisation agenda proposed by the head of state is shared by a large section of society and the government. Therefore achieving these goals goes beyond the term of one presidential mandate."

Medvedev has announced an ambitious modernisation drive to end corruption and wean Russia off its dependence on hydrocarbon reserves by building an innovation-based economy.

Timakova's comments come days after Putin reignited speculation he was seeking to return to the Kremlin by making a comparison with four-term US president Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Putin ruled Russia as president for the maximum two consecutive terms allowed by the constitution from 2000-2008 and then handed over to Medvedev, becoming a powerful partner in the ruling tandem.

After a four-year break from the Kremlin, there is nothing to stop Putin standing for another two presidential terms.

Putin has previously vowed that the two men will not compete against each other in 2012 but Medvedev has also never ruled out seeking a further mandate.

Russian political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky told Moscow Echo Radio that Timakova's remarks were the first clear hint that Medvedev has no intention of leaving his post in 2012.

"I have never had any doubts that Dmitry Medvedev is planning a second term as it is not possible to realise his modernisation plans in just four years," he said.

© 2010 AFP

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