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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 May, 2004, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
No return for Lithuania ex-leader
Rolandas Paksas leaves parliament in Vilnius after being impeached
Paksas had vowed to run again for president
The Lithuanian parliament has voted through a law banning impeached president Rolandas Paksas from running in the 13 June presidential election.

The law was passed by 64 MPs, ending Mr Paksas' hopes of a comeback.

He was sacked last month, accused of leaking classified material and giving a Russian businessman citizenship in return for financial support.

Last week, the electoral commission registered him as eligible to run again in the first round.

It is expected that Mr Paksas, who has accused his political foes of waging a vendetta against him and denied all the charges, will challenge the law before the constitutional court.

The flamboyant 47-year-old former sportsman had vowed to stand again, in accordance with the Lithuanian constitution.

However, the law passed by MPs will amend the constitution to prevent people who have been impeached or had their mandate taken away from standing in national elections for five years.

Correspondents note that Mr Paksas still enjoys popular support, mainly among those who have missed out on economic growth in the former Soviet state, which became an EU member on 1 May.


SEE ALSO:
New probe for Lithuania's Paksas
30 Apr 04  |  Europe
Country profile: Lithuania
01 May 04  |  Country profiles
Paksas fall stirs mixed emotions
07 Apr 04  |  Europe
Profile: Rolandas Paksas
06 Apr 04  |  Europe



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