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Official reports state that Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania died in the early hours of Thursday from carbon monoxide poisoning
Official reports state that Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania died in the early hours of Thursday from carbon monoxide poisoning. Vremya Novoseti and Vedomosti comment on the situation in Georgia. Mr. Zhvania played such a considerable role in Georgian politics that conspiracy theories about his sudden death were inevitable. Some people in Georgia have already alleged the involvement of certain "Russian-based forces." Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has refuted this speculation, accusing those spreading such rumors of "a politically biased conclusion." He said the insinuations should be on their conscience. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has temporarily taken over the prime minister's functions. Under the Constitution, he should submit the candidacy of a new premier to parliament within a week. Georgian State Minister Kakha Bendukidze said Mr. Saakashvili might nominate himself, with a government reshuffle following. In any case, Mr. Bendukidze quoted the president as saying, "the current liberal economic course will remain unchanged," and the privatization program approved by the late premier will be carried on. At the same time, Georgy Badzgadze, an expert with the Georgian office of Ernst & Young, suggested that privatization would slow down, because "Mr. Zhvania used to personally attend to privatization issues and personally met investors arriving in Georgia." Executive Director of the Union of Businessmen of Georgia Georgy Isakadze maintains Georgia's domestic policies, shaped by Mr. Saakashvili himself, will hardly change. But Alexander Skakov of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies thinks Zhvania's death might affect relations with Georgia's neighbors. According to Mr. Skakov, the premier's death and increasing prominence of Defense Minister Irakly Okruashvili could fan tension in Georgian policies toward the breakaway autonomies of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Mr. Skakov adds that Zurab Zhvania's political influence had been declining in recent months, as members of the president's entourage had replaced some of his supporters in key state positions
Print Official reports state that Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania died in the early hours of Thursday from carbon monoxide poisoning Bookmark Official reports state that Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania died in the early hours of Thursday from carbon monoxide poisoning

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