Russia

Putin says he’ll try to have a ‘balanced’ election, will run as an independent

Jpg” alt=”Russian President Vladimir Putin” data-mce-source=”REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov” data-mce-caption=”Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 14, 2017.”> Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, in power since 2000, will run for another six-year term in 2018.

    Putin lamented a lack of political opponents, and said that politics needs to be competitive.


MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he faced no credible high-profile political opponents as he prepared to run for re-election in March, but would work to try to create a more balanced political system.

The ruling United Russia party has traditionally backed Putin and is likely to do so again this time, but Putin clearly wants to generate a higher turnout by styling himself as someone who is above the often grubby fray of Russian party politics.

Putin said it was too early to set out his electoral program, but named priority issues, aside from helping forge what he called a flexible political system, as nurturing a high-tech economy, improving infrastructure, healthcare, education, productivity and increasing people’s real incomes.

“The political environment, like the economic environment, needs to be competitive,” Putin told an audience of more than 1,600 Russian and foreign reporters gathered in a Moscow conference hall for his annual news conference.

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