Georgian rally calls for president to step down
Hundreds of Georgians gathered yesterday outside the presidential administration building in the capital, Tbilisi, demanding the removal of president Mikheil Saakashvili, whose term in office they say should be ending.
Participants at the rally said the president’s second term should expire today, five years after his inauguration. The constitution limits the presidential term to five years but does not call for elections until October this year. Mr Saakashvili’s National Movement party was defeated in parliamentary elections in October.
His opponent, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, became prime minister, forcing a difficult cohabitation between them.
The protesters waved anti-Saakashvili signs and caricatures of the Georgian leader. Some threatened to block access to the presidential palace and to put up tents until he leaves. “He is not the president of Georgia any more . . . This Satan has nothing to do in this building any more,” Gocha Gurgenidze, a participant of the rally, said.
Several groups in Georgia have begun collecting signatures urging Mr Saakashvili to step down. – (Reuters)