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Putin plotting return as Russia's President: Report

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is plotting to stage a comeback as the president of that nation by stripping the judiciary's right to elect the head of the powerful constitutional court, a media report said on Thursday.

world Updated: May 14, 2009 10:32 IST

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is plotting to stage a comeback as the president of that nation by stripping the judiciary's right to elect the head of the powerful constitutional court, a media report said on Thursday.

Although he is legally allowed to run as president in 2012, the loss of the judiciary's last "quasi-independent" position would remove any "lingering potential" for a legal challenge should Putin make an early presidential comeback, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Interestingly, the proposal, which would effectively rid Russia of its last democratic vestiges, was put forward by the Kremlin perhaps in an attempt to appease Putin, following rumours that President Dmitry Medvedev was starting to assert his independence, the report said, quoting political analysts.

The new rules will see the head of the court, that can overturn legislation it regards unconstitutional, appointed by the pliant upper house of Parliament, essentially making his position dependent on the Kremlin's whim, they have claimed.

At present, the court's president is chosen by its 19 constituent judges through a secret ballot. According to Nikolai Petrov of Moscow Carnegie Centre, Putin might be worried that a comeback before 2012 could face legal obstacles. The constitution is unclear on the subject.

"There are rumours that the decision on the constitutional court is to allow Mr Putin to come back. If he were to return in 2012 it would not be necessary. But if there are early elections it would be necessary to ensure Medvedev's departure is not challenged," he said.

Putin had reportedly said last week that there was no decision as yet on whether he or Medevedev will run for office when the President's four-year-stint in job expires.

"Depending on the effectiveness of our work, President Medvedev and I will take decisions about what to do in future, he and I. I have very good relations with President Medevedev. Each one of us does our work," Putin was quoted by the British media as saying.