Ivanov Expects Putin to Mull Offer

President Vladimir Putin is unlikely to respond swiftly to a proposal that he become prime minister after the presidential election, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Wednesday.

On Monday, Putin said he supported a longtime protege, Dmitry Medvedev, to become the next president. Medvedev returned the favor Tuesday, asking that Putin be his prime minister. Putin, however, has not publicly commented on the offer.

"This is a very interesting proposal, but the president himself will decide whether to accept it, and probably [he will decide] later," Ivanov said, Interfax and Itar-Tass reported.

Along with Medvedev, who is also a first deputy prime minister, Ivanov had also been long considered a leading candidate for Putin's blessing. But Ivanov praised Medvedev on Tuesday.