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Putin drops possible election hint

Vladimir Putin
file photo
YEKATERINBURG, June 30 (RIA Novosti) - Vladimir Putin gave a cryptic hint as to his possible participation in the 2012 presidential polls on Thursday, saying that he would need to "wash" himself after the elections.

"I shall go and have a wash, in the hygienic sense of the word, but also in the political sense," Putin said at a regional conference of the ruling United Russia party in Yekaterinburg, when asked what he would do immediately after the presidential elections.

Under the Russian constitution, Prime Minister Putin, who served two consecutive presidential terms in 2000-2008, will become eligible to run for a new presidential term in March 2012.

With just nine months left until the polls, neither Premier Putin nor his handpicked successor in the Kremlin, President Dmitry Medvedev, have confirmed they will stand. Medvedev has however said he would like a second term. Both men have said it is very unlikely they would run against each other.

"After all the campaigns which we will have to go through, we will need to busy ourselves with hygiene," Putin added.

"As Churchill said: Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried," Putin said.

The premier's comments come as analysts and ordinary Russians play a guessing game as to who will run in next year's presidential poll.

According to opinion polls, whichever member of the ruling tandem that runs is likely to have a clear run at the presidency. With no clear signal yet from either man, analysts have been left to attempt to interpret non-committal statements from both politicians.

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