The iron minister. Merabishvili has been operative leader of several controversial police operations against street demonstrations. (IPN.)

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s president Mikheil Saakashvili says he is appointing Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili as new prime minister.

Saakashvili announced the decision from his presidential palace in Tbilisi shortly before 19 local time Saturday. Imedi TV broke the news in their seven o’clock news program.

It is not yet known who will replace Merabishvili as interior minister, a post he has held since December 2004.

Nika Gilauri has been prime minister since February 2009.