MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview published Saturday that he may run for a second term in the 2012 presidential election.

Medvedev's predecessor and mentor, Vladimir Putin, has previously said they wouldn't compete against each other, but "sit down and decide" who will run.

Putin is still widely seen as the nation's most powerful politician despite moving into the prime minister's seat. Most observers expect him to elbow Medvedev out and easily regain the presidency in 2012.

Medvedev told the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten in an interview posted on the Kremlin Web site Saturday that he "doesn't exclude" seeking re-election in 2012, a statement similar to his previous remarks on the subject.

"If it's necessary for my country and for preserving the policy course formed of recent years, I mean both the period when Vladimir Putin was the head of state and the period I have been in charge, I don't rule out anything for myself, including participating in the election," Medvedev said.

He said that he would make a decision on whether to run if the public is satisfied with his work during the first term and if he is confident of his electoral performance.

"As a minimum, the results of my work should be acceptable for our citizens," he said. "And we also should seek to achieve the result, not just take part."

Medvedev, a lawyer by education, has sought to cast himself as more liberal than his predecessor and promised to create a more tolerant environment for business and to expand political freedoms. But critics say that he has accomplished little so far and Putin has continued calling the shots.