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Georgia: President Vows To Form New Government

Tbilisi, 5 November 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze says he will not resign or dissolve parliament and says he hopes the political crisis that prompted him to fire the cabinet on 1 November will soon subside. Shevardnadze said his first priority is to form a new cabinet and name someone to the new post of prime minister.

Shevardnadze was speaking as protestors continued to demand his resignation and new parliamentary elections. But Shevardnadze said the constitution does not envisage early parliamentary elections. And he said he will not resign.

"If I resign now -- of course, I can resign right now after this press conference -- what is going to happen next?" he said. "There is no government, no leadership in the parliament, nobody knows what is going to happen to the parliament.... Would this be responsible?"

Georgia was plunged into political crisis last week after a bungled police raid on Rustavi 2, the country's leading independent television station, which has frequently reported on government corruption.

That incident on 30 October brought to the forefront tensions that have been brewing in the country for months, with many people angry at corruption and economic hardship. In the wake of initial protests, Shevardnadze accepted Security Minister Vakhtang Kutateladze's resignation. But demonstrators continued to demand that Interior Minister Kakha Targamadze and Prosecutor General Giya Maparishvili step down, too.

Shevardnadze sacked the entire government on 1 November, he said, "for the sake of Georgia and its stability."