Putin says he may seek re-election in 2018

Updated: 2013-09-20 19:09


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MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was possible he would run for re-election in 2018.

Putin made the remarks when talking with former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon Thursday at the annual gathering of the Valdai Club, a high-level forum gathering Russian and foreign officials and scholars.

Putin says he may seek re-election in 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with 'Valdai' International Discussion Club members in the town of Valdai September 19, 2013. Russian President Putin said on Thursday he could not be 100 percent certain that a plan for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons would be carried out successfully but he saw reason to hope it would. [Photo/Agencies]

"I can't rule it out," Putin told Fillon after the latter said, "I wouldn't answer this question because you didn't answer a similar question," in reply to Putin's question whether he would run for French presidency in the future.

"Nor do I," said Fillon, who was French prime minister between 2007 and 2012.

It was the first time that Putin, whose term will expire in 2018, made such statement following his returning to the Kremlin for a third term last May.

Responding to US Republican Senator John McCain's remarks that the Russians deserve better than Putin, the Russian president said his country is on its way to building a democratic state and this is up to its people to decide how to shape the country's political system.

McCain published on Thursday an article titled "Russians Deserve Better Than Putin" in Russia's Pravda.ru news website, criticizing the Russian regime "misrules" its people.

"Russia has resolutely taken the path of democracy. It is searching for ways to strengthen these democratic foundations," Putin told participants of the club.

"It is up to the Russian citizens rather than to our esteemed foreign colleagues to decide which authorities Russia should have, " Putin said, reminding that the "overwhelming majority" of Russian citizens voted for him during the latest presidential elections.

He admitted Russians "generally deserve the authorities of a better quality," while saying the country need no foreign advisors to shape its political landscape.

The 60-year-old strongman served as president from 2000 till 2008, and then prime minister for four years. Under Russia's Constitution amended in 2008, a presidential term is extended from four to six years.