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Nigeria court makes way for controversial VP's presidential run, but party balks

[JURIST] An Abuja High Court ruled Friday that Nigeria's ruling political party violated the country's constitution [text] by suspending Nigeria's Vice President from membership. The decision sustains the presidential hopes of Vice President Atiku Abubakar [official profile; official website], who has announced his intention to run in Nigeria's 2007 presidential election [INEC website]. The Nigerian constitution requires all presidential candidates to be members of a political party.

The People's Democratic Party (PDP) [BBC profile] expelled [Afrol report] Abubakar from the party over corruption allegations [AP report] linking the Vice President to US Congressman William Jefferson [JURIST news archive]. In October, Abubakar was formally charged [JURIST report] on twelve counts of corruption. The PDP has argued that Abubakar's expulsion was an internal party matter having nothing to do with Nigeria's constitution. In the wake of the court ruling Friday, however, the party said that its practical effect would be limited as Abubakar had still missed a nomination deadline and the party would not reopen that process [Nigerian Tribune report]. AP has more.

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