Georgian Minister of State–equivalent of prime minister–Niko Lekishvili resigned yesterday, citing “obvious signs of a crisis of power.” The entire cabinet of ministers is expected to resign today. President Eduard Shevardnadze, while denying that a “crisis” is in progress, announced his intention to replace a number of cabinet ministers immediately. At a two-day special session of the cabinet, Shevardnadze warned that “corruption is assuming threatening proportions,” “turning into a cancerous tumor which must be eradicated before it destroys the state.”
Lekishvili announced that he plans to enter party politics, seek election to parliament with the governing Union of Citizens of Georgia, and support Shevardnadze in the next presidential election. This may be looking too far ahead, however. The Tbilisi press has recently accused Lekishvili of involvement in corruption. (International agencies, July 25 and 26)
U.S. ENVOY DRAWS MIXED PICTURE OF RELATIONS WITH UZBEKISTAN.