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12 Feb, 2008 19:31

Georgian rebel minister plans parliamentary bid

Georgia's opposition leader and former Defence Minister, Irakly Okruashvili, says he will try to run in the parliamentary election this spring, but fears authorities will block him.

Okruashvili is now in France, where he's awaiting an extradition hearing following Georgia's request for his arrest.

The man is wanted in his native country on the charges of money-laundering, abuse of office and negligence.

Last September, he was arrested in Tbilisi on corruption charges after he accused the Georgian President, Mikhail Saakashvili, of plotting political assassinations.

He later withdrew his allegations, and was released on bail. He fled to Germany, later claiming he was forced to make a retraction.

The politician is hopeful the French court will dismiss the charges against him and he will stay involved in Georgia's politics.

“Firstly, I don't know weather I'll be able to continue doing the Georgian politics according to French law. And, secondly, being involved in politics while staying 3.000 miles away from the country is pretty difficult, but I'll do me best to cope with it,” Irakly Okruashvili said.