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The head of Russia's central election commission said Thursday that Vladimir Putin has the right to run for the presidency in 2012
The head of Russia's central election commission said Thursday that Vladimir Putin has the right to run for the presidency in 2012. Putin has repeatedly said that he has no intention to run for a third presidential term in 2008, since the Russian Constitution forbids a person to run for more than two consecutive terms of four years and he was against amending the Constitution. "There are no legal obstructions [against Putin running in 2012]," Alexander Veshnyakov said. Veshnyakov earlier Thursday also told Ekho Moskvy radio that a referendum on the Constitution concerning a third consecutive presidential term for Putin was almost impossible. "Firstly, there are time limits for referendums in Russia, as they cannot be held during the last year of State Duma [parliament's lower house] deputies' terms," he said. "We are approaching this date." Elections to the State Duma are scheduled for December 2007. "Secondly, if this is the issue of amending the Constitution, I have no clue how it can be formulated," Veshnyakov added. A survey conducted by the Levada Center pollster in 46 regions of Russia on May 19-22 and published in popular daily Novye Izvestia showed that the number of Russians who would back the idea of Vladimir Putin's re-election had increased from 41% to 59% in the last nine months. The survey also showed that 23% of respondents said Putin would be true to his pledge not to run for the presidency in 2008, whereas 18% said he would have to change his stance under pressure from his team. Another 18% said the president "will most likely see that there are no good candidates and agree to be nominated for a third term," while 19% of respondents said Putin was ready to run and was only waiting for an opportune moment to make his intention public.
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