Unexpected candidates to enter presidential race in Russia: Medvedev

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Moscow, Sep 30 (UNI) Presidential elections in March would see unexpected candidates entering the race, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said here today.

Mr Medvedev is one of the two front-runners in the presidential elections, the other being First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov.

At a media forum organised by the Kremlin-backed United Russia party, Mr Medvedev recalled President Vladimir Putin remarks that earlier there were no candidates, but now the presence of several other runners in the presidential race created a more positive image of the country as a young democracy.

Mr Medvednev, however, said it was too early to talk about his own candidacy, adding, ''the presidential campaign has not yet begun.'' Putin's remarks came after he appointed Viktor Zubkov, a financial official, as Prime Minister, earlier this month. Mr Zubkov has already announced his own presidential ambitions.

Medvedev said he expected a party-affiliated President to eventually emerge as Russia was now ready for this.

He announced that he would not seek election to the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, as a United Russian candidate, despite the fact that his political sympathies lay with the party.

''I have other very important business,'' he said, adding that ''someone has to deal with routine issues.'' UNI

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