( Reuters ) - President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he expected a parliamentary election on December 2 to give him "a moral right" to influence Russian politics after he steps down from his Kremlin post next year.
Putin is heading the list of candidates for the key pro-Kremlin party United Russia in the poll. The party is likely to win an overwhelming majority of seats, according to opinion polls.
"If people vote like you for the United Russia ... that would mean the majority of citizens trust me," he told a worker in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk.
"That would mean in turn that I will have a moral right to ask people who will work in the Duma (parliament) and the government how they will carry out the decisions we are making today."
Putin, who steps down after a presidential poll next year, has said he wants to retain some political influence after leaving office to ensure the course he has set for Russia is maintained, though he has not specified how.
His future plans remain one of Moscow's biggest political mysteries.
"I will refrain from a direct answer about my plans, but there are several options," Putin added. "If we get such a result (a United Russia victory) I will have this opportunity."
Putin has hinted he could take the job of prime minister in a future government, though some analysts believe this is unlikely because of the post's limited power and status.
Russian media have also speculated he could become the parliamentary majority leader in parliament or head the Kremlin's Security Council.
Latest opinion polls show that United Russia is likely to win at least 60 percent of the seats in the State Duma (lower house). The Communists remain the second biggest political force but polls suggest no other opposition party is certain to pass the 7 percent minimum threshold for representation.
Russia's weak and fractured opposition accuses the Kremlin of using changes to electoral rules and its control over broadcast media to keep them away from parliament, a charge the Kremlin denies.