Georgia’s president calls early election

Georgia’s pro-Western president said Thursday the country would hold early presidential elections in January to defuse a crisis fueled by protests against him. President Mikhail Saakashvili also promised to lift within days the nationwide state of emergency that he had imposed late Wednesday after a violent crackdown on anti-government protesters, saying “the situation in Georgia is quickly stabilizing.” The election had been due to take place in late 2008, but Saakashvili said it would now be scheduled for Jan. 5 “to receive the trust of the people.”

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