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Ultranationalist Russian politician praises Libyan ‘democracy’

January 8, 1997

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky praised Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s government on Wednesday, calling it ``the road of true democracy,″ Libya’s state-run news agency said.

Zhirinovsky lamented that an experiment to establish a similar system in Russia had failed, according to the official JANA news agency, monitored in Cairo.

Gadhafi, who seized power in a 1969 coup, has introduced a series of people’s committees and congresses at local, regional and national levels. But the real authority in Libya remains firmly in his hands.

In an address to the People’s Congress in the capital, Tripoli, Zhirinovsky said the Libyan system of government ``is the road of true democracy.″

``In Russia during the past eight years, we tried to make democracy reach the popular base of the people, but we have not succeeded in this experiment,″ Zhirinovsky said.

Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party in Russia’s lower house of parliament, arrived in Libya on Tuesday. It was his third visit to Tripoli in recent years.

In a separate meeting Wednesday with Libyan officials, Zhirinovsky repeated his call for the lifting of U.N. sanctions against the North African country, JANA reported.

The United Nations imposed economic and political sanctions on Libya in 1992 to try to force Gadhafi to surrender two Libyans wanted in connection with the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people.

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