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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 May, 2004, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Lithuania ex-leader loses fight
Rolandas Paksas leaves parliament in Vilnius after being impeached
Paksas had vowed to run again for president
Lithuania's impeached ex-president cannot run again for office, the country's highest court has ruled.

Rolandas Paksas had been vowing to seek re-election since being sacked for allegedly leaking classified material, and for giving a Russian businessman citizenship for financial support.

Mr Paksas had already registered as a candidate for the 13 June poll.

But the constitutional court backed a law passed in parliament banning an impeached president from running again.

"The law banning the official removed from office via the process of impeachment does not violate the constitution," the head of the court, Egidijus Kuris, told the hearing.

This is the end of Paksas' political ambitions, his final destiny after his previous unexpected rebirths
Lauras Bielinis
Political analyst
There is no further appeal open to Mr Paksas, who insists he is the victim of a political vendetta and says he has done nothing wrong.

He still enjoys popular support, mainly among rural voters who have missed out on economic growth in the former Soviet state, which became an EU member on 1 May.

But analysts said there was now no way back for the former stunt pilot.

"This is the end of Paksas' political ambitions, his final destiny after his previous unexpected rebirths," Lauras Bielinis, a political analyst at the Vilnius Institute for International Relations and Political Sciences, told AFP news agency.


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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