Russian President Vladimir Putin says he has not yet decided whether to stand for re-election in 2018, promising not to change the constitution so as to allow him to keep on running for Russia’s political leadership indefinitely.
“I have not decided yet if I should continue my work in this capacity. I will see. The election will take place in 2018. There is still time ahead of the election race. We will see,” Putin said during a Q&A session with school children at a school in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Friday.
The 64-year-old Russian leader first became president in 2000, before most of the audience in the Friday program was even born. In 2008, he concluded his second term in office after winning another term in the 2004 election, and became Russia’s prime minister for a second time under President Dmitry Medvedev from 2008 to 2012.
Presidential terms were extended from four to six years in 2011, only a year before Putin emerged victorious in the presidential race.
The next election is scheduled to be held in March 2018, and the Russian leader, who has dominated Russia’s political landscape for the past 17 years and boasts massive popularity ratings, is widely expected to seek to secure another six-year term in office.
Putin stepped down in 2008 as the president of the Russian Federation in order to avoid a constitutional ban on running for a third consecutive term.
Some political commentators at the time suggested that he could change the constitution so as to allow himself to stay on as president for a third consecutive term. Some still say he might pursue changing the constitution to run for another term after 2024. The Russian leader, however, has ruled out the possibility.
“I had an opportunity, I was even asked to change the constitution at some time. I did not do it, and I don’t intend to do it in the future. Everything is written in the constitution,” Putin said.
Back in December last year, Forbes named Putin the most powerful man on the planet for the fourth consecutive year.