TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili last year thought the presidential palace was too luxurious for him to use, but now he defends his decision to make it his place of work.
In the presidential election campaign in October, 2013, Margvelashvili thought the palace was too luxurious for a country like Georgia and a symbol of ex-President Saakashvili’s lavish lifestyle.
For some time, Margvelashvili refrained from using the domed complex as his work place.
But something has changed, as this year, the president moved in and started using two of its rooms as his office.
In February, 2014 he unexpectedly hosted ambassadors in the residence – and then he and his administration moved in entirely.
This was unpopular with former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, who criticized the president, whom he hand picked for the job. Margvelashvili said then that he made this decision due to working conditions, as two rooms wasn’t enough for a president.
Since then, Ivanishvili and Margvelashvili’s relationship has become tense. Gharibashvili, the PM, attempts to deprive all powers from the president on a legislative level and in any other ways. He doesn’t attend parties and dinners held by the president even the one he held to host the president of France, and also didn’t attend a session of the the National Security Council, which he is obliged to as per the constitution.
Margvelashvili has never said that it was a political decision to move into the president’s palace. On Thursday, he said that the issue of the president’s residence became political when ‘he was indicated the location.’
In a TV interview he said that he had been honest when he said that the palace should have been used for a university, but then he saw that the plan to transform the palace into a university was going nowhere, he changed opinion.
“Moving to the Avlabari residence was partly a political decision in order to say clearly that the president’s institute is not an institute which you can just fit in two rooms and leave there; put him in two rooms and say to him – this is your working place. This issue became political when they indicated a location to me.”
Margvelashvili says it is not right when the stability and sustainability of the president’s institute shouldn’t be touched and it shouldn’t ‘wander.’
“This issue is beyond my personality. I guess it was necessary to show this and it happened like this,” he added, continuing that he had to prove that the president’s institute is important and you can’t just move him from one building to another.
“My own values is one issue, but on the other hand there is a political reality where there is an obligation to respect the president’s institute.”