TBILISI, Nov 25 (Reuters) Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili stepped down today to be registered as a candidate in a January 5 presidential election, his chief spokesman said.
''I am informing you that the Georgian president stepped down on November 25, 2007,'' the president's chief spokesman, Vano Noniashvili, told a news briefing.
''I remind you that stepping down before the end of the term is a formality and a necessity because of early presidential elections in Georgia and Mikhail Saakashvili is due to run in the election as a candidate,'' Noniashvili said.
Saakashvili, 39, called the early election this month after crushing opposition protests with riot police and closing the country's biggest opposition television station.
Under the constitution, his powers now pass to Parliament Speaker Nino Burjanadze, one of his allies.
Reuters SYU GC1459