Georgian opposition leader Mikhail Saakashvili has repeatedly called for a bloodless revolution in Tbilisi much like the one that deposed communism in the Czech Republic.

The 35-year-old, Western-educated lawyer was once a protege of former President Eduard Shevardnadze, serving two years as justice minister until 2002. But the firebrand politician broke with the president over government corruption and became one of Mr. Shevardnadze's harshest critics.

The former head of Tbilisi's city council, Mr. Saakashvili enjoyed widespread support during the past three weeks of demonstrations in the capital city that led to the president's resignation.

For the present, he will not replace Mr. Shevardnadze - that job falls instead to parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze. But he is expected to play a large role in upcoming political developments, including new presidential elections in the coming weeks.