Under pressure from Western allies, Georgia has lifted a state of emergency imposed nine days ago. The move comes as President Mihkail Saakashvili appointed a new prime minister. The Georgian leader told journalists he had chosen Lado Gurgenidze for the job. The chairman of the private Bank of Georgia, he will replace Zurab Nogaideli whose government is also being changed.
Saakashvili pledged not to impede opposition parties in the run-up to January’s early presidential election. This, despite ordering police last week to violently crush street protests demanding his resignation. A highly critical TV station that was raided is still off the air. It remains unclear when it might be allowed to restart broadcasts.