Putin to seek re-election as an independent
Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Thursday that he would run for re-election as an independent candidate, banking on the support of numerous political parties and the popular vote while casting doubt on the competence of his opposition.
Putin was giving his annual press conference at the WTC Congress Centre in Moscow — his first major public appearance since announcing he would seek a new six-year term in the March 2018 elections, Sputnik news agency reported.
"I'm going to be self-nominated, but of course I do hope for the support of the social forces, be that parties or social organisations that share my views on the development of the country and I do hope for the broad support of our citizens," Putin said.
The president has long been associated with the United Russia political party, whose big-tent nationalism lays claim to three-quarters of the seats in the State Duma.
At the helm of the Kremlin for the last 17 years, Putin acknowledged that there were problems to be addressed in Russian society but began his conference praising a list of government achievements, ranging from higher average life expectancy to strong armed forces and sweeping tax reductions, Efe news reported.
He also cast doubt on the credibility of his political opposition. "I think the most important question for the opposition is how to come up not just with a noisy agenda but a realistic agenda, something to gain the trust of the people," Putin said.