December 10, 2007,

The Kremlin, Moscow

Beginning of Meeting with Members of Political Parties United Russia, A Just Russia, Citizens Strength and the Agrarian Party

BORIS GRYZLOV: The results of the election to the State Duma were announced on Saturday. Now the presidential election campaign has begun. In accordance with the law, the parties that have been elected to the Duma need to think about their candidate.

We thought that it would be good to base ourselves on a broad range of political forces in deciding on a candidate for future president, accordingly, the leaders of four political parties, United Russia, A Just Russia, the Agrarian Party, and Citizens Strength, got together to discuss a candidate for the presidential election. 

The consultations were quite friendly. We would like to present to you the name of the candidate we have all agreed to support First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev. We think that he is the candidate most attuned to societys needs. He has already proven himself in managing the national projects and the demographic programme. He has achieved real results, and it is this that is most important. 

We think that we could make raising living standards the slogan for our work over the next four years, after all, only the first steps have been taken. We all think that Dmitry Medvedev could head this work, and we wanted to discuss this matter in detail with you today.  

VLADIMIR PUTIN (Addressing Dmitry Medvedev): Dmitry Anatolyevich, have you been consulted on this?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Yes, there were preliminary consultations and they were positive. We will continue these discussions today and tomorrow.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We have a lot of political events crammed into a rather short period of time. With New Year upon us this is not the most agreeable work to take on, but life has to continue and the law requires that we begin the presidential campaign.

This proposal has come from four political parties, two of which are not only represented in the parliament but hold a stable majority, and all four parties together represent a broad spectrum of Russian society and speak for the interests of a diverse range of groups. This indicates that we have the opportunity to establish stable government after the 2008 election, and not just stable government but government that will continue the policies that have produced positive results over these last eight years.  As for the candidacy of Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, I can say that I have known him for more than 17 years now and have worked closely with him throughout these years, and I fully and wholeheartedly support this choice.

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