Georgian president refuses to move out of Saakashvili’s palace

by | Nov 10, 2015

President Giorgi Margvelashvili. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian government wants the president to move out of the presidential palace and move into the building they have refurbished for him, but the administration of president once again refused to move into the new residence.

Monday, Minister of Economy Dimitri Kumsishvili called on the president to ‘timely decide’ what he is going to do about the Atoneli residence. He outlined that the government allocates finances monthly to keep the refurbished residence ready for him to use.

According to the minister, the building is closed off and no-one is using it.

Kakha Kozhoridze, one of the president’s advisers, the same day responded that the president doesn’t aim to change his decision about the Atoneli residence.

“About a year and a half ago, we sent an official letter [stating] that the president doesn’t plan to move out and he hasn’t changed this decision,” Kozhoridze said, adding that cabinet members have to decide the fate of the Atoneli residence.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili enraged Bidzina Ivanishivli, the businessman who put together the Georgian Dream coalition, when he decided to move out of the government office and into the presidential palace in Avlabari, which was constructed by his predecessor Mikheil Saakashvili.

Since then, Ivanishvili has often reprimanded Margvelashvili for this decision, while cabinet members have backed Ivanishvili and criticized the president for not moving out.

In his last interview, in late October, Ivanishvili said he doesn’t aim to keep silent about Margvelashvili’s decision to move into the palace.

“[The president] uses palace which is located on 16,000 square meters. But there is prepared another palace [on Atoneli Street], but he doesn’t move in there, although the government indicated to him that he ought to move in there. He claims that this is a problem of personal confrontation,” Ivanishvili said on Imedi TV. “It’s rare to find such a cynical statement.”

The ex-prime minister pointed out that the construction of the palace in Avlabari required 300 million lari, while the Atoneli residence required only 26 million.


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