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Putin Says Voters Still Have A Choice

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
Russia's main television channels have aired excerpts from an interview with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in which Putin denies he is guaranteed to win presidential elections next year.

In the interview, to be shown in its entirety later today, Putin says Russians always have "a choice."

"[Critics say that] if your humble servant runs in the election, there will be no choice," Putin says. "Maybe there will be no choice for them, but there is always a choice for the average citizen."

Putin also spoke about parliamentary elections due in December this year, saying it is necessary for the United Russia party he leads to remain the dominant force after that poll.

Saying "the most important thing is people's trust," Putin adds, "United Russia must remain the leading political force in the country after State Duma elections."

compiled from agency reports