Khodorkovsky Duma candidacy to be decided in line with law -official

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PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, September 9 (RIA Novosti, Oksana Guseva) - A decision on whether Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former chief executive of embattled oil major Yukos, can run for parliament will be made strictly in accordance with the law, the chairman of Russia's Central Election Commission said Friday.

Speaking at a news conference in the far-eastern regional center of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Alexander Veshnyakov said the commission would make an objective decision on whether or not Khodorkovsky could run in a Moscow by-election to the lower chamber of Russia's parliament, the State Duma.

"According to the constitution, a Russian citizen who is in prison after a court ruling does not have the right to vote or stand for election," Veshnyakov said. "There are no restrictions other than this."

Although Khodorkosvky is currently in prison, his nine-year sentence for tax evasion and other offenses will not technically come into force until his appeal is heard, which could mean that he will be allowed to stand as a candidate.

"An individual wishing to stand as a candidate must either present the signatures of 5,000 voters, or an election deposit between September 19 and October 19," Veshnyakov said.

"If all the necessary documents are in order, the candidate will be registered, irrespective of the name and location of the citizen," the commission chairman said.

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