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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Medvedev says no plans to quit early despite term change

RIA Novosti

13/11/2008 13:59 MOSCOW, November 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday his proposal to extend the presidential term from four to six years, which will apply to the next president, did not mean he would resign ahead of time.

Medvedev's announcement last week triggered speculation that the extension of parliamentary and presidential terms was a pretext to the return to office of his predecessor and now premier, Vladimir Putin. Some media reports said Medvedev could step down next year to clear the way for Putin.

Asked in an interview with Le Figaro, ahead of his trip to France for a Russia-EU summit, whether his early resignation is possible, Medvedev said: "I can say only one thing for sure, and that is that the new term will benefit only whoever is elected to the office of president once the necessary amendments have entered into force." The decision has been taken in the interests of the country's development, he added.

Putin said on Wednesday he had no plans so far to run again for the presidency.

Russia's parliament is expected to swiftly approve the amendments.

Boris Gryzlov, speaker of the State Duma dominated by the Kremlin-backed United Russia party said on Thursday the lower house could approve the amendments in three readings at Friday's session.

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