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Georgian parliament limits presidential powers

Thursday - 3/21/2013, 3:23pm  ET

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) -- Georgian lawmakers have approved constitutional amendments restricting the president's power to fire a Cabinet, a new move in a tug-of-war between the Western-leaning president and Russia-friendly prime minister in the ex-Soviet nation.

President Mikhail Saakashvili's United National Movement lost October's elections to the Georgian Dream coalition led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who became prime minister. Since then, the two have been locked in a tense power struggle.

Saakashvili, whose term expires in October, had broad powers, including the right to fire the Cabinet, disband the parliament and call new elections. While Saakashvili has denied such intentions, the majority pushed for formally depriving the president of an ability to do so.

After months of wrangling, Saakashvili's faction joined the majority Thursday to vote for amendments limiting presidential powers.


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