Putin vows continuity after Russian elections

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WIESBADEN, Germany, Oct 15 (Reuters) Russian President Vladimir Putin today pledged continuity in his country's relations with Europe after forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.

In his first public remarks on a visit to Germany, Putin made no reference to a news report that Russian special services had been warned of a plot to assassinate him during a trip to Iran later today.

''Russia will soon hold parliamentary and presidential elections and in Russia there will be a different configuration of power and new people,'' Putin told a civic forum.

''I am sure that the renewed Russian authorities will retain continuity in cooperation with Germany and Europe,'' Putin said.

Russia holds parliamentary elections in December, which the main pro-Kremlin party, United Russia, is expected to win easily.

Russians choose a new president in March 2008 but Putin is not eligible to run after two consecutive terms in office.

Putin announced earlier this month he would head United Russia's national list of candidates and would consider becoming prime minister, suggesting he plans to hold onto power in some form after leaving the Kremlin.

Putin will hold a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at about 1630 IST.

REUTERS SKB DS1430

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