TBILISI, DFWatch — A group of supporters of the former government have started gathering signatures in support of President Mikheil Saakashvili.

The group has published a petition on its Facebook page which says that according to the constitution, Mikheil Saakashvili is the legal president of Georgia until October, 2013, therefore it is unconstitutional to demand his resignation.

A coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) managed to gather 800 000 signatures during one month in support for a demand that the president must resign.

The reason this demands is brought forth now is that on January 5, it was exactly five years since the last presidential election, and on January 20, it will be five years since Saakashvili’s second inauguration.

He would have had to leave office now, had it not been for a constitutional amendment made by him and his party faithfuls so the term was extended ten months. This was done by specifying that a presidential election must be held in October after the end of a presidential term. The amendment was criticized for contradicting another article in the constitution.

The group, which calls itself Patriots, thinks Saakashvili should be president until October, while the coalition of NGOs think th epresident should resign, because he has already been president for ten years.

According to Georgian law, a person is elected president for five years and can serve a maximum of two terms.

“We think that those people who demand the president’s resignation put the statehood of our country in danger and gravely violate our constitution,” the text of the petition says.

Supporters of the petition should write their name and surname as a comment to the petition. The signing term will end on January 20, 2013. So far there are more than 1 000 signatories.