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Reports: powerful Chechen PM dismisses speculation about early presidential bid

Reports: powerful Chechen PM dismisses speculation about early presidential bid

Chechnya's powerful prime minister denied Thursday that he plans to take over soon as president, which would further bolster the strongman's grip on the war-ravaged southern Russian region, news agencies reported.
Ramzan Kadyrov made the statement as he reached the minimum age for the regional presidency on his 30th birthday, amid widespread speculation that he could replace Chechen President Alu Alkhanov before his term ends in 2008.
"I have already decided that that it is early for me to become president. We have an elected president of the republic, and until his term comes to an end, I think it is early to speak of me as a candidate for the post," ITAR-Tass quoted Kadyrov as saying.
Kadyrov is seen as holding more power than Alkhanov and is the focus of a personality cult that has stoked speculation he could replace the president, but some analysts say the Kremlin is unlikely to boost his already considerable clout by maneuvering him into the top job.
Kadyrov's reputation has been tainted by widespread accusations of abuse by security forces under his control, but the Kremlin needs him and his forces to uproot remaining rebels who still mount regular attacks years after the end of large-scale battles.
Russian forces entered Chechnya in 1994 to crush its separatist leadership, but withdrew after a devastating 20-month war that left rebels in charge of the mostly Muslim region. Russian forces returned in 1999 and drove the separatists from power.
Kadyrov is the son of Chechnya's first pro-Moscow president, Akhmad Kadyrov, who was elected in October 2003 and assassinated seven months later. The term of his successor, Alkhanov, expires in 2008, but he could be replaced if he resigned or were disabled.
Last week, Kadyrov left the door open for an early presidential bid, saying that he would take stock of the situation at year's end and would follow the will of the people.


Updated : 2020-12-05 20:23 GMT+08:00