December 14, 2017 / 9:39 AM / a year ago

Putin says will run as independent candidate for new Kremlin term

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin, seeking a new term in office in a March election, said on Thursday he would run as an independent candidate while hoping for support from more than one political party.

Putin, 65, told an annual news conference that Russia’s political system must be competitive, but the opposition lacked a strong candidate to challenge him because his opponents, while creating a lot of noise, had very little to offer the nation.

Reporting by Denis Punchuk, Vladimir Soldatkin and Jack Stubbs; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Christian Lowe

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