MOSCOW (AP) — The spokesman for Vladimir Putin says the Russian president has not decided yet whether to run for office next year as an independent candidate or secure support from the ruling party.

The 65-year old Russian leader, who has ruled the country since 2000, announced on Wednesday that he would seek his fourth term in office in March. Putin's 80-percent approval ratings make his victory all but certain.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday that the president has not decided yet whether he would run as an independent or on United Russia's platform.

United Russia won last year's parliamentary election, but is nowhere near as popular as Putin. The leader may avoid association with the party, which has been tainted with corruption scandals.

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