15 Apr 2011

Russian party backs Putin for president

11:02 am on 15 April 2011

A senior member of the dominant United Russia Party says Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin will receive the party's backing to stand as a candidate in next year's presidential election.

There has been intense speculation in Russia as to whether Mr Putin or current president Dmitry Medvedev will stand.

A statement on the party website quotes a senior United Party figure as saying it will "orient itself on its leader Vladimir Putin" in the 2012 elections, Reuters reports.

Mr Putin was president from 2000-08 and was required to step aside after two consecutive terms in the Kremlin, but is permitted to run again in next year's election.

He and Mr Medvedev say they now rule in tandem and will decide together which of them will run for president.

Mr Medvedev has said he will decide soon whether to run.

On Wednesday, Mr Putin said it was too early to announce a decision.