Former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma announced on Thursday he could run for president at the next election, expected later this year or in early 2010.

Asked during an international TV linkup organized by RIA Novosti whether he would put himself forward as a candidate, Kuchma said: "I have already answered this question, but I don't know whether it was in the press. I would agree to a short term."

Kuchma, 70, said he believed that during his time as president, Ukrainians lived better than they do now. "People had confidence in tomorrow," he said.

Kuchma was Ukraine's second president, in office from July 1994 to January 2005. He oversaw a period of strong economic growth, but the second half of his presidency was marred by a scandal surrounding the murder of a journalist, in which he was accused of complicity.

Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, President Viktor Yushchenkno's former ally, has also announced her intention to run for president, and has called for an early election.


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