Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Friday, 30 January 2009

Georgia PM resigns over illness

Grigol Mgaloblishvili in Brussels, 1 Dec 2008
Mr Mgaloblishvili was only appointed prime minister in November

Georgian Prime Minister Grigol Mgaloblishvili has resigned, citing poor health after only three months in the job.

The 35-year-old was Georgia's fourth prime minister during President Mikhail Saakashvili's five-year term.

Mr Mgaloblishvili, who had already been absent during kidney treatments in Germany, said doctors had ordered two months of intensive treatment.

He nominated deputy premier and finance minister Nika Gilauri for the role.

"Georgia does not have the luxury of a prime minister being absent for treatment for three months," Mr Mgaloblishvili said in a live television broadcast.

He was appointed on 1 November as Mr Saakashvili sought to overhaul the government after Georgia's crushing military defeat by Russia in their five-day August war.

Critics, including some former allies, have accused Mr Saakashvili of provoking the war, which saw Russian forces occupy swathes of territory and bomb targets across the country.

On Thursday, Mr Saakashvili's leading opponents joined forces to sign a demand for his resignation and the holding of early elections.

He is due to chair a government meeting later in the day.

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