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Georgian Parliament Approves New Cabinet


Georgia's parliament has unanimously confirmed Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze's new cabinet as opposition members boycotted the vote.

The 141-0 vote came as the opposition continued protests and refused to recognize the re-election of President Mikhail Saakashvili to a second term earlier this month.

Prime Minister Gurgenidze announced the new cabinet last week. He replaced more than half of the ministers or moved them to new positions.

Three key allies of the president, Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili, Finance Minister Nika Gilauri and Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, are among those retaining their posts.

Mr. Saakashvili had vowed to make major changes in his government after winning re-election.

The new appointments include those of the president's former campaign manager, Davit Bakradze, as foreign minister and of Sandro Kvitashvili as minister for healthcare and social issues

Georgia's opposition claims the poll was rigged to ensure Mr. Saakashvili would win more than 50 percent of the vote and avoid a runoff election.

The president won more than 53 percent of the vote and European monitors say the vote met most standards for democratic practices.

The opposition is demanding a recount and warning of "permanent protest" rallies beginning in Tbilisi next week, if the demands are not met.

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