Moscow, Oct 25 (UNI) Citing a Constitutional ban, Russian President Vladimir Putin today vowed not to run for office for a third time but maintained to retain political influence even after his term expires in 2008 without specifying the role he would take up henceforth.
''Although I like my job, the Constitution does not give me the right to seek election for a third consecutive term,'' Mr Putin said in a televised question-answer marathon. Over two million questions had been received ahead of his 5th live question-answer session.
However, the Russian leader expressed the hope to preserve the trust of the country's citizens and influence people's lives in Russia even after leaving his post.
''I think I will manage to maintain the most important thing for a politician - your trust. And, using this, together we can influence the life in our country,'' he said.
The prospect of Mr Putin remaining in power for a third presidential term when his current term runs out in early 2008. has been widely debated in Russia, although he himself repeatedly denied speculations in this regard.
Last month, Mr Putin's supporters even came out with an initiative to hold a nationwide referendum on a third presidential term, but Russia's Central Election Commission rejected the move.
Some analysts have also suggested that the President can resume the presidency in 2012, since the Constitution specifies only consecutive terms in office, without imposing a limit on the total number.
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