Moscow, Dec 2 (UNI) Moscow's powerful Mayor Yury Luzkhov today called President Vladimir Putin a 'national leader' who will not quit big-time politics.
Mr Luzhkov, a close ally of President Putin, said the pro-Kremlin United Russia party's nominee for the presidential candidate could be announced after December 17.
'' It is a very difficult issue, wait and be patient,'', Mr Luzhkov told reporters after he cast his ballot in the State Duma elections at Polling Station No 165 on Aleksandra Navskogo street.
'' One could speculate on the presidential candidate after December 17 following a party congress and consultations to be conducted by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin,'' he said.
He stressed that as Moscow's Mayor, he deemed it important that '' Putin retains his post'' but Russian law makes this impossible.
Mr Putin is at the top of the United Russia party list opening the possibility that he could keep a grip on power from parliament even after stepping down as President next March, after completing two consecutive terms.