The acting president of Georgia, Nino Burdzhanadze, is speaker of the country's outgoing parliament and a leading opposition figure.
A key ally of Georgia's main opposition leader Mikhail Saakashvili, the 39-year-old Ms. Burdzhanadze is a lawyer who has served in Georgia's parliament since 1995.
Like Mr. Saakashvili, she had once backed Mr. Shevardnaze, but has recently become a critic of what she calls his corrupt administration.
She is considered a moderate within Georgia's opposition, and is known for being a measured and calm politician. She is also widely popular with women voters and a champion for women's rights.
Ms. Burdzhanadze is the author of more than 20 published articles on international law, and is a professor of international relations at Tblisi State University.