Georgian Government Goes, President Stays

Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze has said he is not going to resign in the current "difficult situation" in the country. Speaking on national television on Thursday, Shevardnadze confirmed that "the chairman of the parliament, the head of the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor General have submitted their resignations." The president said he had thought over his recent statement on his readiness to resign and "realised that today I must stay in my office." He said he must take part in the formation of a new Cabinet, a bill on the institution of which he had submitted in May, and asked the parliament to support this bill and accelerate its adoption. Shevardnadze said he had made the decision on the resignation of the whole of Georgia's incumbent government against his will in order to stabilise the situation in the country. He said he had signed a decree on the government's resignation only on Thursday morning. As commenting on the resignation of parliament speaker Zurab Zhvania, the president described it as a total surprise but said it was natural and timely as responsibility must be equally shared by the country's leadership. The president called on participants in the rally on Rustaveli Prospect to disperse as their demand for the resignation of the prosecutor general and the interior minister had been met. Shevardnadze said he would like ex-Prosecutor General Giya Meparishvili to be given an opportunity to make public findings of the Prosecutor General's Office on the legitimacy of Interior Ministry officials' actions with regard to the Rustavi-2 independent TV company. On Thursday, all ministers in the Georgian government dismissed by the president held a closed-door meeting with Shevardnadze. According to the Georgian national television, the participants in the meeting approved the president's decision on the government's resignation and described it as the only acceptable one in the present crisis situation.

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