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Putin says could be PM in 2008, will head United Russia list

RIA Novosti

01/10/2007 18:54 (Recasts, adds details)

MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin said Monday he could become prime minister in 2008, if the United Russia party wins the December 2007 parliamentary elections, and that he will head the pro-presidential party's list.

"Heading the government is realistic, but it is too early to consider it," Putin said at a party congress in reply to a proposal from United Russia to head the government. He added that this would be possible under two conditions.

He said the first condition was United Russia's victory in the lower house, State Duma, elections in December 2007, and the second is the election of an efficient person to the post of Russian president.

The Russian leader also said: "I accept with gratitude your proposal to head the United Russia list." However, Putin said he does not want to be a member of any party.

"Although I was an initiator in the establishment of United Russia, I, like the overwhelming majority of the country's citizens, do not belong to a party and am reluctant to change this status," he said.

United Russia opened its pre-election congress, which is the party's eighth, in Moscow earlier Monday.

About 2,000 guests and delegates from the regions gathered for the event, with about 1,000 journalists attending.

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