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Last Updated: Friday, 16 November 2007, 16:25 GMT
Georgia ends state of emergency
Mikhail Saakashvili 16-11-07
Mr Saakashvili says he wants a fresh start
Georgia has lifted the state of emergency it imposed nine days ago amid a wave of opposition protests.

An interior ministry spokesman said the situation was "back to normal".

The move came as President Mikhail Saakashvili announced he was replacing PM Zurab Noghaideli, and appointing Lado Gurgenidze, a banker, to the post.

Mr Saakashvili accused Russia of inciting the recent unrest to oust him. Both Moscow and the opposition in Georgia deny the allegations.

The crackdown on protests drew international criticism of the pro-Western leader who has met a key opposition demand for early elections.

New blood

Announcing the change of prime ministers, Mr Saakashvili said in a televised address: "We are putting forward new tasks that must be implemented by new people."

His new PM, the 36-year-old Mr Gurgenidze, is chairman of the private Bank of Georgia.

Opposition supporters had called on Mr Saakashvili to resign, accusing him of corruption and authoritarianism.

The protests earlier this month were the largest Georgia has seen since the "Rose Revolution" that brought Mr Saakashvili to power in 2003.

The early election has been set for 5 January.

Profile: Mikhail Saakashvili
08 Nov 07 |  Europe
In pictures: Emergency in Georgia
08 Nov 07 |  In Pictures

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