Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he had never felt tempted to stay on for an unconstitutional third term and that for him power was not a drug.
"I've never been tempted to stay on for a third term. From my first day of work as president I decided I would never violate the existing constitution," Putin said at his annual press conference in the Kremlin, his last before March 2 polls.
"Everyone should observe the existing legislation, starting with the head of state," Putin said.
The Russian constitution prohibits a president from holding office beyond two consecutive, four-year terms.
"I want to work, but such opportunities exist. Some people are inclined to dependence on tobacco, some, God help them, on narcotics, some on money and they say the biggest dependency is power. But I've never felt that," Putin said.
"If God gave me the opportunity to work for my country... I've always felt I should be grateful for that. It's already a great honour," he said.
His favoured presidential candidate, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, is seen as virtually certain to clinch the March 2 polls, while Putin is expected to retain major influence not withstanding his departure. (AFP)
Putin says 'never tempted' by third term