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18 Sep, 2007 12:10

Lugovoy says he can boost his party in Duma poll

Russian businessman Andrey Lugovoy who's to run in Russia's forthcoming parliamentary elections, says he has the skills to hold a political seat. He has been nominated by the Liberal Democratic Party – despite being wanted in Britain in connect

He contends his security and army background make him a good candidate.

At yet another news-conference on Tuesday, Andrey Lugovoy reiterated: why he's going into politics and what Mr Lugovoy- as a State Duma deputy, will fight for.

Explaining why he's chosen Russia's Liberal Democratic Party for his political ambitions Andrey Lugovoy said they are very close ideologically and have common grievances.

For 10 months since Aleksander Litvinenko's murder Andrey Lugovoy has claimed he's been innocently involved in a provocation against Russia, organised by Britain's Intelligence Agency MI6. The case he says has damaged his business and discredited him

The Liberal Democrats' leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, is also criticising Britain for its colonial politics.  

Mr Lugovoy is still wanted in the UK in connection with the poisoning of the former security officer, Aleksandr Litvinenko.

Russia's refusing to extradite him claiming it is against the country's constitution. Instead it has offered to prosecute Mr Lugovoy here in Russia, in the domestic courts, if Britain provides enough evidence.

But this turn of events doesn't look likely – as a member of parliament, he would be immune from prosecution in Russia. But he denies he's seeking asylum.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky stressed that the Duma will not shield criminals and if the General Prosecution found it necessary, then a deputy would be stripped of the protection

As far as both sides agree, this alliance is really a win-win deal. In the 1993 parliamentary elections, the Liberal Democrats won 22 percent of the vote, since then their support has halved. The party is now seeking to regain its position – the goal may be easier to achieve with Andrey Lugovoy's popular public profile. And for the man himself a seat in Parliament will grant him immunity from any legal proceeding for at least four years.