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Georgia's Saakashvili Says Anticorruption Drive Could Target Shevardnadze

Tbilisi, 6 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Mikheil Saakashvili, the president-elect of Georgia, says his planned anticorruption campaign could target assets held by the family of ousted President Eduard Shevardnadze.

In interviews with Western media (AP, BBC), Saakashvili said his team is prepared to examine Shevardnadze and his family to look for misappropriated state assets or illegal operations.

Saakashvili said he did not intend to harm or take vengeful actions against Shevardnadze, but that any illegally obtained assets should be returned to the state.

Saakashvili told AP that his first efforts upon taking office will include pushing for "drastic anticorruption legislation."

Saakashvili's comments came as partial results yesterday showed him winning about 96 percent of the 4 January presidential election.

Saakashvili, who spearheaded the wave of peaceful protests that toppled Shevardnadze in the "Rose Revolution," put promises to battle corruption at the top of his election campaign.