MOSCOW, April 19 (UPI) -- Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov has become the first politician to announce he is a candidate for president of Russia in next year's election.
"If the (party) congress nominates me, I will run," Zyuganov told a talk show host, The Moscow Times reported Tuesday.
Zyuganov said he would take part in the race even if Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev decided to run against each other.
The two leaders gave kept the nation guessing whether either of them will seek the presidency.
Zyuganov, who has headed the Community party since 1993, has sought the presidency three times.
In 1996, he won 40.3 percent of the vote in a runoff against President Boris Yeltsin.
A poll by the state-run VtsIOM agency last December gave Zyuganov just 4 percent of the vote if he ran against Medvedev.