Vladimir Putin ditches party to run for re-election as an independent

 
Helen Cahill
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RUSSIA-POLITICS-PUTIN
Putin speaks during his annual press conference (Source: Getty)

Vladimir Putin has ditched the United Russia party to run as an independent candidate in the country's election next year.

The Russian President has a huge amount of personal support, with approval ratings over more than 80 per cent, according to Russia's only pollster.

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By contrast, the ratings of his party have been falling.

Speaking on a televised press conference, Putin said: "I hope I will be supported by some popular groups, movements, parties. I hope to be a candidate with broad support by the people."

Putin has been either the President or the Prime Minister of Russia since 2000. If he wins the next election, he will be in power until 2024.

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