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Saakashvili calls for talks with opposition

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Saakashvili calls for talks with opposition

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Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has called for dialogue with the opposition as protests against him continued for a second day.

Tens of thousands of people have gathered outside the parliament in Tbilisi calling for Saakashvili to stand down. They accuse him of stifling reforms and blame him for last summer’s disastrous war with Russia. His leadership has polarised opinion in the former Soviet republic. But analysts question whether the opposition has enough weight to force him out. “This is not the right opposition,” said one Tibilisi resident. “They’re demanding his resignation but not offering an alternative. They have to call for concrete solutions.” Another man said: “Huge numbers have come on to the streets because our government is incompetent. Our social and economic standards are declining”. It is not the first time Saakasvhili has faced street demonsrtrations calling for him to go. But he says he has no intention of quitting. Criticism of his rule has mounted as the crisis in the economy worsens.