TBILISI, DFWatch – A court case which could decide the future of Georgia has been postponed due to a judge’s illness.
Georgian billionaire and opposition politician Bidzina Ivanishvili was told Thursday that his and his wife’s appeal about their revoked citizenship has been postponed until December 12, because the judge is ill.
The final ruling in the case may decide whether one of the country most popular politicians will be allowed to run in next year’s election.
Tbilisi City Court held a preparatory session in the case on December 5 at which the detailed review of the case was rescheduled for today.
Ivanishvili’s lawyers are asking for presidential decree number 602 to be declared invalid. The decree was issued by president Mikheil Saakashvili on October 11, 2011, four days after Ivanishvili surprisingly had announced he would enter politics, set up a new political party and claim power as prime minister after the election for parliament in 2012.
Ivanishvili argues that Saakashvili acted unlawfully when revoking his and his wife Ekaterine Khvedelidze’s Georgian citizenship.
If a person doesn’t have Georgian citizenship, according to the Georgian legisltation, he is prohibited from engaging in any political activities in the country and barred from financing the political processes.
Bidzina Ivanishvili was granted Georgian citizenship in 2004 for his special merits to the country, a special clause in the law allowing for this. At that time he was already a Russian citizen.
When the citizenship was revoked, the government argued that after 2004 Ivanishvili became a French citizen too, and that this was unknown to authorities. When the businessman mentioned his French citizenship in his open letter of October 7, his citizenship was ‘automatically’ terminated.
The only person entitled to grant citizenship is the president.
The main argument for the businessman’s lawyers is that a citizenship granted under the clause about special merit to the country cannot be deprived by use of common law.