TBILISI, DFWatch – The Christian Democrats propose a new law which will allow Saakashvili’s main opponent to participate in elections without being a Georgian citizen. His citizenship issue is still unclear.
The Georgian president revoked billionaire businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili’s citizenship after he declared his political goals in October 2011. The businessman first tried to restore his citizenship through the court, but unsuccessfully. According to Georgian legislation, a non-citizen cannot get involved in political processes and finance political subjects.
In January he appealed to the president to give him Georgian citizenship through naturalization, which means giving away the other citizenship he has. The president’s answer to this request is still unknown, but the Ministry of Justice already published a decision that he didn’t have the right to ask for citizenship through naturalization, but he should have asked for double citizenship. This is not considered a legal explanation by a majority of lawyers in Georgia.
A double citizen can not participate in elections under current legislation.
The opposition Christian Democrats party, one of just a few opposition parties represented in parliament, suggests that the government solves the problem this way: an EU citizen, who has lived the last ten years in Georgia, will be given the right to participate in elections.
The Christian Democrats Movement has submitted a bill with constitutional changes to parliament and the constitutional organizational committee. The thinking behind the bill is that this will give Bidzina Ivanishvili a legal opportunity to engage in political activism.
According to the bill, to be eligible to be elected to parliament, a person must be 21 years old, be born in Georgia, have lived ten years in Georgia and be a citizen of an EU member country.
Giorgi Targamadze, leader of the Christian Democrats, says their proposal is related to giving Ivanishvili political rights of Georgian citizen, so that he has a legal possibility to participate in the election campaign, finance political activism and achieve all his goals that he had declared.
He says the initiative is made not specifically with Ivanishvili’s interests in mind, but the country’s national interest, to create party pluralism for the elections instead of polarizing society. The country could get real competition, where any citizen will be able to elect the desirable party and candidate.
The government’s majority in parliament claims ‘this proposal is important to end all kinds of speculations regarding legal procedures and about the fact that someone is restricted of right to participate in elections.’
Pavle Kublasvhili, Parliament Judiciary Committee chairperson remarked that it will be possible to end this procedure in one month.
In addition he doesn’t exclude that this initiative may become wider so that EU citizens who have been living in Georgia for 10 years will be able to hold any public office.