Vladimir Putin / Getty Images


Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday that he will run for reelection in 2018.

Putin, 65, has been in power either as president or prime minister since 2000 and enjoys high approval ratings within Russia, setting the stage for him to serve another six-year term until 2024.

“I will put forward my candidacy for the position of president of the Russian Federation,” the Interfax news agency quoted Putin as saying, according to the Moscow Times.

Putin is widely expected to win reelection and extend his dominance of Russian politics.

Russia’s elections on March 18 are timed to coincide with the anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine—a move that boosted Putin’s popularity at home.

Putin is seeking a fourth term as president. If he wins, the Russian leader will have to choose whether to leave Dmitry Medvedev as prime minister; whoever holds the prime minister’s post is often viewed as the president’s heir apparent, Reuters noted.

Russian elections are often labeled as unfair or fraudulent. During Russia’s parliamentary elections in September 2016, observers reported witnessing voting count irregularities, ballot-stuffing, and electoral fraud at polling stations. Putin’s ruling United Russia party was the big winner in those elections.