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President Saakashvili sacks PM

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-10-27

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday dismissed Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze, a government spokesman said. Gurgenidze will be replaced by Grigol Mgaloblishvili, the 35-year-old ambassador to Turkey.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has dismissed Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze and will replace him with the country's ambassador to Turkey, a presidential spokesman said Monday.
   
"The president has submitted to parliament the candidacy of Gega Mgaloblishvili for the post of prime minister of Georgia," presidential spokesman Vano Noniashvili told AFP.
   
Saakashvili was expected to make a public announcement of Gurgenidze's dismissal later Monday.
   
Mgaloblishvili, who has been Georgia's ambassador to Ankara since 2004, will be asked to form a new cabinet for parliament's approval.
   
Other changes within the government are expected, a senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
   
It was unclear why Gurgenidze had been dismissed, but the government has faced criticism for its handling of a war between Georgia and Russia in August over the rebel region of South Ossetia.
   
Gurgenidze became prime minister last November after his predecessor, Zurab Noghaideli, was dismissed following clashes between security forces and opposition supporters on the streets of Tbilisi.
   
Some opposition groups have called for renewed street protests on November 7, the anniversary of the clashes.
   
Gurgenidze, a former commercial bank chief, was seen as a key figure in reforming Georgia's economy and attracting foreign investment.
   
He led Georgia's efforts to attract Western aid following the war with Russia, which saw Russian forces move into the country on August 8 to repel a Georgian attempt to retake the rebel region of South Ossetia by force.
   
Under a European Union-brokered ceasefire, Russian forces later withdrew to within South Ossetia and another rebel region, Abkhazia, which Moscow has recognised as independent states.
   

Date created : 2008-10-27

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