MOSCOW: Russian president-elect Vladimir Putin said Tuesday he was standing down as head of the ruling United Russia party and nominated outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev as its new leader.
"The president should be a non-party figure," Putin told party officials Tuesday.
He, however, said the constitution did not forbid the head of state from holding party membership.
"But the president is, after all, a consolidating figure for all the political forces in the country, for all its citizens. In connection with this, I believe it is correct to give up the leadership of United Russia after my May 7 inauguration," he said.
Medvedev is widely expected to take up the post of prime minister after Putin's inauguration as president.