TBILISI, Georgia, March 22 (UPI) -- Constitutional amendments that would eliminate some of the president's powers were approved by lawmakers in the country of Georgia, officials said.
A bill that would strip President Mikheil Saakashvili of the ability to dismiss the Cabinet, disband Parliament and call elections was approved by all 135 legislators present, RIA Novosti reported Thursday.
Two more readings of the bill are required before it can become law but its approval is deemed a formality.
Saakashvili expressed satisfaction that lawmakers, after contentious debate, had agreed on terms of the amendments even though his rival, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, is expected to benefit from the changes, RIA Novosti said.
Political tensions have been running high between Saakashvili and Ivanishvili, the report said.