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United Russia pushes for Putin to lead election campaign

Vladmir Putin Gesturing While Speaking at a PodiumMOSCOW, June 8 (RIA Novosti) - The head of the ruling United Russia party's election commission said on Wednesday it was likely that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would head its list of candidates for parliamentary elections in December.

The lists of candidates for each party taking part in the election will be submitted in September.

"Putin has always been present in the most critical, most difficult, most important moments of our lives and he has always played a defining role," election commission head Andrei Vorobyov said.

Putin already leads United Russia, but is not officially a member of the party. As the serving prime minister, he will not be standing for election as a member of parliament, as is the case in some other countries.

Putin called for the creation of the All-Russia People's Front at a United Russia party conference on May 6, to broaden the party's electoral base with "non-party members," including trade unions, NGOs, business associations and youth groups.

Some analysts see Putin's project as a bid to shore up his electoral base in the face of United Russia party's flagging popularity and head off a potentially damaging poor showing in upcoming parliamentary elections.

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