Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday he would support First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to run for president, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.
"I have known him very closely for more than 17 years and I completely and fully support this proposal," Itar-Tass quoted Putin as saying.
Putin made the remarks while meeting with pro-Kremlin party leaders of the United Russia, Fair Russia, Agrarian and Civil Force, which jointly nominated Medvedev as the candidate for next March's presidential election.
"We would like to nominate the candidate that we all support. This is First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev," State Duma speaker and leader of the United Russia Boris Gryzlov said in the meeting.
Medvedev, who will be officially nominated for president at the United Russia congress on Dec. 17, will continue consultations on Monday and Tuesday with parties on his candidature for the March 2presidential election, Gryzlov said.
The support of four parties for a single candidate meant there was a realistic chance of building a stable government in Russia, RIA news agency cited Putin as saying.
The Russian stock market has hit new highs following reports about Medvedev's nomination.
Medvedev, 42, was promoted to the position of presidential chief of staff in 2003 and took the post of first deputy prime minister in 2005.
The presidential race formally kicked off in Russia on Nov. 28 when the date for elections to choose a successor to Putin was set for March 2, 2008.
Under the constitution, the current president is forbidden from seeking a third term. Putin has pledged to step down next year but vowed to contribute to the nation after that.