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Georgia: Parliament Convenes To Elect Speaker

Tbilisi, 6 November 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Georgia's parliament met today to elect a new speaker and discuss a new cabinet. The session came after President Eduard Shevardnadze fired the government last week in response to a failed security raid on a leading independent television station. The failed raid on Rustavi-2, under the pretext of investigating the station's finances, led to accusations that government officials were cracking down on a station which has often reported on government corruption. In the political crisis that followed, parliament speaker Zurab Zhvania also resigned.

About 200 protesters met outside Georgia's parliament as it opened debate demanding Shevardnadze's resignation.

Shevardnadze has said he would not step down, dissolve parliament, or disperse the demonstrators, saying the crisis should be solved by democratic means.