Russia's Putin says to ensure continuity after 2008

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MOSCOW, Oct 18 (Reuters) Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that a powerful parliament, to which he is seeking election, would be a key factor in ensuring stability and continuity under a new Kremlin leader.

''In 2007 and 2008 we have parliamentary and presidential elections and there will be a different person in the Kremlin,'' Putin said in a televised question-and-answer session when asked why he was running for parliament.

''In these conditions it is extremely important to preserve a stable path of development for our state and the continuity of those decisions that have been taken in the past few years,'' he said.

Putin said last month he would run as the top candidate from the United Russia party in December parliamentary elections and has repeatedly hinted he would preserve political influence after stepping down in 2008.

Elected president in 2000 and again in 2004, Putin is obliged by the constitution to step down by next May, though he could run again after the March 2008 elections because the law only bans three consecutive terms.

When explaining his decision to run for parliament, Putin hit out at ''ineffective'' parliaments of the 1990s which he said failed to pass useful legislation and concentrated on populist measures.

''Remember the start and middle of the 1900s, with an ineffective parliament it was not possible to take a decent decision, at that time more than enough populist decisions were taken which led the country to a dead-end but in effect there were no decisions that would help the country to develop,'' Putin said.

REUTERS SKB PM1730

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