Vietnam Time

12/7/2017 9:42:33 AM

Putin seeks new term as Russian President in March vote

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday (December 6th) said he would seek a new six-year term in the country's March elections.

"I will offer my candidacy for the post of president of the Russian Federation," he said during a visit to a car factory in Nizhny Novgorod.

He made the widely-expected announcement surrounded by cheering workers, who prodded him to unveil his plans in a carefully-choreographed ceremony.

"There is perhaps no better place and better excuse to announce this," Putin said in a nod to his core constituency.

"Russia will go only forward! And no one would ever stop her in this direction."

A glitzy ceremony for volunteers in Moscow seemed the ideal platform for Putin to announce a re-election bid. (AFP/Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV)

Putin's confirmation of the Kremlin bid came as Russia reeled from a decision by the International Olympic Committee to ban the country from the Winter Games as punishment over claims of state-orchestrated doping.

But despite a litany of mounting problems including corruption, poverty and poor healthcare, the 65-year-old leader enjoys approval ratings of some 80 per cent.

Just hours earlier Putin visited a glitzy ceremony for volunteers in Moscow where he sought to rouse supporters.

"I want to ask, do you trust and support me?" he addressed the huge audience of mostly young people. "Yes!" the audience chanted.

Before Putin took the floor prominent figures, including athletes and Soviet-era celebrities such as 83-year-old actor Vasily Lanovoi, took to the stage to extol the country's successes, such as Soviet victory in World War II.

Cosmonaut Sergei Ryazansky addressed the audience via video link from the International Space Station.

Putin, who first became president after Boris Yeltsin sensationally resigned on New Year's Eve 1999, handed power to his ally Medvedev in 2008 at the end of his second term.

Putin served as prime minister - though few doubted who was really in charge - and returned as president in 2012.

If he extends his rule to 2024, Putin will have led Russia longer than Leonid Brezhnev, who presided over an era of stagnation from 1964 to 1982 and became the target of derision in his later years./.

VNF/AFP  
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