The former Soviet republic of Georgia has a new president: Mikhail Saakashvili, the 36-year-old U.S.-trained lawyer who led last year's massive street protests that forced long-time leader Eduard Shevardnadze from power.
Mikhail Saakashvili pledged to defend Georgia's constitution and the dignity of the nation's people as he took the presidential oath of office outside the parliament in Tbilisi.
Mr. Saakashvili, who has said he wants to be a unifier, thanked the United States for its support of Georgia as it seeks to implement reforms. He also paid tribute to neighboring Russia, a nation Mr. Saakashvili said Georgia wants as a friend.
In his inaugural address, Mr. Saakashvili said he would dedicate his presidency to Georgia's poor, as well as to the nation's youth.
He urged all citizens to work together to help create a democratic country free of corruption and internal strife.
Mr. Saakashvili swept this month's presidential election after leading opposition protests against fraudulent parliamentary elections and what was seen as years of corruption and misrule.