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    Georgia's Saakashvili sacks PM, names Turkey envoy to replace

    HotNewsTurkey with wires
    27.10.2008 - 14:59 | Son Güncelleme:

    Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, damaged by a failed war with Russia in August, named Grigol Mgaloblishvili, Georgia's ambassador to Turkey, as new the prime minister on Monday. (UPDATED)

    Saakashvili made the announcement in a live television address late Monday and said he would ask parliament to approve 35-year-old Oxford-educated Mgaloblishvili to replace the outgoing Lado Gurgenidze.  He did not immediately provide a reason for the move.  

    The Georgian president was expected to announce a fresh cabinet line up later this week.

    "We took a joint decision with Lado Gurgenidze that he will no longer serve as prime minister," Saakashvili told a televised meeting with parliamentary deputies.

    Saakashvili said that under new constitutional arrangements, the president is obliged to name a new prime minister following parliamentary elections - previously not the case. Georgia voted for a new parliament in May.

    Officials told Reuters the prime minister-designate would reveal his new cabinet before a parliamentary debate, a date for which has yet to be announced.

    A senior government source told Reuters that Gurgenidze, 37, had been dismissed but did not specify why. Analysts said the move did not appear to be directly linked with the five-day war in August and subsequent opposition criticism of Saakashvili.

    Saakashvili said Gurgenidze would chair a new financial commission created by the president.

    Gurgenidze, a pro-Western technocrat and former banker, became prime minister of the former Soviet republic in November 2007 with the chief task of attracting foreign investment and maintaining economic growth rates.

    But the August war, when Moscow sent troops and tanks into its southern neighbor to halt a Georgian offensive to retake breakaway its separatist South Ossetia region, has hit investor confidence and reined in otherwise healthy growth forecasts.

    Georgia's pro-Western president, who came to power in the 2003 "Rose Revolution", is facing increasing criticism from opposition leaders. They accuse Saakashvili of walking into a war Georgia could not possibly win.

    Some opposition factions have announced a protest for Nov. 7, the first anniversary of a police crackdown against opposition demonstrators.

     

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