A Former Rebel Runs With SPS
GROZNY -- The Union of Right Forces' No. 2 candidate
in Chechnya's parliamentary elections is a former rebel warlord
who led a bloody attack in Grozny in 1996 and has a brother in
France who serves in the current Chechen rebel government.
Magomed Khambiyev, 43, is not a member of the
liberal party, but he is being allowed to run in the Nov. 27 elections
along with two other former rebels under an amnesty for fighters
who have laid down their weapons.
Khambiyev said he was running "to continue
fighting for my people and the law."
Speaking in a brief interview, he said he chose
the beleaguered Union of Right Forces, or SPS, because it "is
the only party that has not poured dirt on the Chechen people."
In his campaign, among other things, he calls
for a crackdown on religious extremists, whom Moscow has blamed
for terrorist attacks around the country.
SPS, which is hoping the elections will allow
it to bounce back onto the national political stage, said Khambiyev
should win strong support from voters in eastern Chechnya, where
he grew up.
"He is a true patriot of his people,"
said Zina Magomadova, the head of SPS's branch in Chechnya. "He
defends Chechnya's freedom and the rights of his fellow countrymen."