Putin hopes next president is independent and strong - Kremlin

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Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to do everything to ensure that his successor is independent and efficient, the Kremlin administration said on its Web site Thursday.
MOSCOW, September 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to do everything to ensure that his successor is independent and efficient, the Kremlin administration said on its Web site Thursday.

"I would not like the [next] Russian president to be weak," Putin said, adding that in the mid-term Russia would need a strong presidential administration.

Addressing participants in the Valdai Discussion Club at his residence in Sochi, south Russia, last Friday, Putin described the current three-layer structure of Russia's government as "ineffective."

"It has become clear in the past three years that [the current system of government] is ineffective in reality," the president said.

Speaking of the parliamentary elections slated for December 2, Putin said he would support the United Russia party, but he planned to make sure that a multi-party system develops in the country.

"I would like us to have Social Democrats that were politically active, ... not a fragment of the past in the form of KPRF [Communists], but a real responsible leftist movement, a leftist party with a social-democratic ideology," the president said.

"We should strengthen and develop a multi-party system," the president added.

However, he said he would like United Russia to remain a leading political force. Putin praised the party's contribution to developing a legislative basis for the country's development.

"We have established a real basis for the country's development, a legislative base," Putin said. "We did so with support from the parliament's leading political force, United Russia."

Commenting on the recent Cabinet reshuffle, Putin said everything was "in compliance with the current laws." He said the decision to appoint a new premier [Viktor Zubkov] was mostly dictated by technical reasons. "If you remember, everything was the same before the previous presidential election in 2004."

Asked if the new PM could run for president in 2008, Putin said: "Yes, he can, just like any other Russian national."

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