Georgians Seeking Saakashvili Exit Collect 1 Million Signatures

Georgian politicians and civil groups said they’d gathered as many as 1 million signatures seeking the resignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Crowds gathered today outside the presidential palace in the capital, Tbilisi, demanding Saakashvili step down this month, five years after he was inaugurated for a second term.

Saakashvili is scheduled to depart in October after constitutional changes switched presidential elections from January, extending his final term by nine months. His party was unexpectedly defeated by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili’s opposition coalition in Oct. 1 parliamentary elections.

“Saakashvili will serve his constitutional term and won’t resign,” Akaki Minashvili, a lawmaker from the president’s United National Movement, told reporters today in Tbilisi. “His term ends in October and the demands for him to resign are totally groundless.”