Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Putin may seek Prime Ministerial role

It appears that President Putin is not ready to relinquish day to day involvement in federal Russian politics when his term as president ends in March next year.

Whilst he has confounded speculation that constitutional changes might be made to enable him to seek a third presidential term, he has indicated that he may run as a candidate for United Russia in the Duma elections in December and would consider becoming Prime Minister of the Russian Parliament given a favourable result.

With buoyant personal approval ratings and given the campaigning advantages United Russia will undoubtedly enjoy, this favourable result is largely inevitable. Putin would be required to resign his presidency in order to take his seat in the Duma.
Certainly Putin’s active involvement as Prime Minister would not appear to be conducive to a new president establishing new and independent policy initiatives, especially as the new president is likely to gain victory primarily through Putin’s patronage.

Although ostensibly the situation appears democratically deficient to our western sensibilities, it would be wrong to forget that there is little appetite in Russia for any radical new direction and President Putin remains hugely popular. Although western governments may desire a fresh new start for the Federation and would wish to see the outgoing president exercising as little influence as possible, it is patronising to prescribe such an outcome for a Russian population who to not share these aspirations.

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