Fugitive bids to become MP again

  • 2007-09-05
  • By TBT staff and wire reports
VILNIUS - Viktor Uspaskich is to run for the Lithuanian parliament, despite the fact he has been on the run for a year.

The former minister and founder of the Labor Party is currently in hiding from Lithuanian law enforcement agencies in Russia, but that hasn't prevented him registering with the Central Electoral Committee as a candidate despite the fact that only 'permanent residents' can run for office.

Uspaskich declared his residence to be in Kedainiai, despite being on the Russian side of the border for more than a year and Lithuanian law which dictates that citizens leaving the country for more than six months must declare their new place of residence.

Uspaskich formed the Labor Party in 2003 and quickly gained popular support with five MPs plus a position as economics minister. However, in May 2006 it emerged that the party was the subject of a police investigation into tax fraud. Uspaskich returned to his native Russia to attend a funeral and has not been back since.

Parliamentary candidates acquire legal immunity, and therefore if Uspaskich is registered a candidate he can only be arrested with the Central Electoral Committee's permission.

The Chairman of the CEC Zenonas Vaigauskas told Baltic News Service that the Prosecutor General's Office has not applied to the commission with a request to remove immunity from any of the candidate.

Another nine candidates will run against Uspaskich for the Dzukija constituency on Oct. 7. Current MP Algirdas Vrubliauskas is stood down to become mayor of the Alytus district some months ago.