TBILISI, DFWatch–The new government plans to open a Georgian-American technical university in the building in Avlabari, Tbilisi, which today is used as presidential palace.
The palace which lies on a cliff above the capital was built a few years ago, and still functions as the offical residence of President Mikheil Saakashvili, who will leave office in two weeks.
Giorgi Margvelashvili, the new president, said Monday that the university will open next year and his administration will instead work at the government office elsewhere in Tbilisi.
“I do not support having such a large presidential residence, and I think that the money which was spent on the construction of the Avlabari residence should be given back to the people,” he said, adding that he already suggested to Georgian Dream’s political council to locate the new university there.
Margvelashvili says preparations have already started, and he thinks the project should bring a high level of education to Georgia.
“I am happy that the money which was spent by the state to build such a fashionable building will be spent for Georgian students and their education.”
Education Minister Tamar Sanikidze said the ministry has been informed of the decision and supports it.
‘I think it would be really appropriate and good to use this building for education,” she said.
Andro Barnovi, head of President Saakashvili’s administration, responded by saying that the Avlabari palace was build for the adminsitration of the president and should continue to funciton this way.
“It’s location, architecture, inner structure – everything is planned and done so that the president’s administration can work without obstacles,” he said. “This is a completely non-understandable and unacceptable attitude, which the new government shows towards all the good things which the previous government did.”