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Putin Rejects Idea Of Becoming Interim President

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has rejected the idea of becoming acting president ahead of an election next year where he is the favorite.

"We have not discussed this," Putin told journalists.
His comment followed speculation that Putin could give up his post of prime minister and take on the job of president ahead of the March 4 poll.
Putin also said he was open in principle to dialogue with the opposition who have been leading a wave of nationwide street protests against alleged fraud in this month's parliamentary elections.
But he rejected talks with opposition leaders who are demanding fresh elections and his resignation. He added that "there's no one to talk to" among the leaders.
In the December 4 elections to the State Duma, Putin's United Russia party lost 25 percent of its seats despite widespread allegations of vote-rigging in its favor.
The claims of vote fraud triggered the country's largest protest rallies in 20 years.
compiled from agency reports