Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Russian Communist Party leader pledges to run in 2008 presidential election

Russian Communist Party leader on Monday became the first prominent politician to throw his hat in the ring for the 2008 presidential election, when President Vladimir Putin is constitutionally barred from running.

"A chosen leader who heads a party should be ready to accomplish such tasks. I am ready to accomplish this task," the Interfax and ITAR-Tass news agencies quoted Gennady Zyuganov as saying.

Speculation has been high that Putin might use United Russia, the Putin loyalist party that dominates parliament, to amend Russia's constitution to allow him to seek a third presidential term. Putin has repeatedly said, however, that he would not seek a third term.

Zyuganov came in a close second to former President Boris Yeltsin in 1996, but his political standing has fallen steadily and he did not even compete against Putin in 2004.

A new poll of 1,600 Russians by the Yuri Levada Analytical Center showed that 47 percent of the nation's people considered that there are no opposition parties or movements that could influence the life of the country.

Thirty percent thought that was untrue, and 14 percent were undecided, according to the poll, which was conducted earlier this month and had a margin of error of less than 3 percent, reports the AP.