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Saakashvili Focuses On Economy As Popularity Sags

Mikheil Saakashvili addressing parliament on February 12
TBILISI -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has said in his state-of-the-nation address that the country’s "most important task" is addressing the global financial crisis, RFE/RL's Georgian Service reports.

The president's new emphasis on the economy comes in the face of a sharp dip in popularity ratings and calls by some for his removal from office.

Support for the president has sagged since last August's war with Russia, followed by declarations of independence by the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Saakashvili came to power in 2004 following the Rose Revolution the previous year promising to restore Tbilisi's control over breakaway territories.