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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

LDPR Looking for Way to Run

Complaining about "savage" election rules under which the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia has been barred from the December parliamentary race, self-styled nationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said Tuesday his party would find a way to appease the elections watchdog and stay in the race.

There is still more than a week left before the Oct. 24 deadline, when each national party must submit a list of candidates to the State Duma that will satisfy the Central Election Commission.

Zhirinovsky said there was not enough time for a court challenge to the CEC's decision to reject the LDPR party list. That list included among its top candidates a Siberian aluminum magnate suspected of money laundering and in hiding from Russian police and others of dubious reputation - selected, as Zhirinovsky himself has bragged, to give the LDPR important links to the world of crime.

Instead, the LDPR might resubmit its list minus some of the candidates the CEC objected to. "In our new list, there will not be a single candidate that could arouse condemnation or questions,'' Zhirinovsky said in remarks reported by Interfax.

But an official at the CEC said that it is unclear whether a party, once denied registration, could submit a new list.

"The legislation is not clear on this matter," said the official, adding that the commission would meet Thursday to rule on the matter.

If the LDPR cannot resubmit its list, Zhirinovsky said, then the party could merge with another small party. Zhirinovsky did not say how that might work. The LDPR was expected to hold an emergency conference Wednesday to decide the matter.

"Zhirinovsky and his team have become so notorious in the eyes of most people that to register them easily would have been a slap in the face to public opinion," said Yevgeny Volk of the Heritage Foundation.

"Now the election commission can at least look like they are trying to investigate corruption among political parties."

Volk and other analysts interviewed said they expected Zhirinovsky's LDPR to be registered in the end - not least because the LDPR has had one of the most pro-government voting records in the Duma. Lawmakers, including former LDPR members, have accused the party of selling votes to the highest bidder - usually the Kremlin.

Russia's new election law requires all candidates for the Duma to submit income and property declarations, and it was this requirement that has tripped up the LDPR.

Krasnoyarsk aluminum magnate Anatoly Bykov, the No. 2 man on the LDPR's national ticket and a fugitive evading an arrest warrant, was disqualified for failing to reveal ownership of a house on his elections application, the CEC said. The No. 3 on the LDPR list, Mikhail Musatov, was barred for failing to declare ownership of three Mercedes cars, the CEC said.

Under elections law, if any of the top troika candidates are disqualified from the list then the entire party cannot participate in the Dec. 19 Duma elections.

The Fatherland-All Russia movement, headed by Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, was also initially rejected by the CEC because some of its members failed to declare cars that they owned.

But none of those rejected candidates was in the top troika, and after they were removed Fatherland-All Russia was duly registered Saturday.