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Georgia's Interim President Pledges to Restore Order - 2003-11-24

Georgia's interim president took the first steps Monday toward solidifying a peaceful transition to democratic rule, after President Eduard Shevardnadze's resignation Sunday amid massive anti-government protests.

Interim President Nino Burjanadze has pledged to move quickly to restore order and hold new elections in Georgia, after nearly a month of tensions and street protests.

In her first address to the nation Monday, Ms. Burjanadze commended the Georgian people for defending freedom and democracy. And she said the nation has her word that she will do the same. She repeated her views for foreign reporters.

"I will do my best to create a real democratic environment in the country," she said. "I will do my best to have peace and stability in the country. Now it's very important to have rule of law in the streets. Everywhere in the country, we need to implement a lot of legal instruments and legal acts."

Ms. Burjanadze's comments came as she convened a meeting of the old parliament. She says because of the wide-scale fraud in the last election, members of the old parliament will remain in office until new elections can be held. She wants to do that within 45 days.

After a night of jubilant celebrations, the streets of Tbilisi returned to normal Monday, with many residents coming out to shop or work on this the first day of a new political era in Georgia.