Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he would run for a second and, according to the constitution, final four-year term in March.
“Yes, I am going to run,” he said on national television.
Putin, 51, was speaking in what has become an annual live, but well-scripted, question-and-answer session with ordinary Russians.
His popularity ratings are routinely above 70 percent, boosted by his promise of a more stable and prosperous Russia that emerged from the Soviet Union 12 years ago in near ruin.
Though Putin is almost certain to win the March 14 presidential election, opposition parties on Wednesday threatened to spoil the occasion by boycotting the vote.
The Communist Party and two small liberal parties were badly mauled in the Dec. 7 parliamentary elections which handed a huge victory to pro-Putin parties amid widespread accusations that the Kremlin used state-controlled media and the bureaucracy to ensure its crushing victory.
A Communist Party official was quoted by Russian media as saying a boycott could be used to push election turnout below 50 percent, rendering the result invalid.
But the head of Russia’s Central Election Commission, Alexander Veshnyakov, said he doubted that would be the case.
“This is possible in theory, but in practice, I personally can hardly imagine it, considering the significance of the election of the president of Russian Federation,” he told local NTV television.