TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian Dream coalition is considering making it possible for a person with dual citizenship to hold three top posts in the country: president, prime minister and speaker of parliament.
The amendments will only apply to the constitution, which currently says that a person who is a citizen of another country in addition to holding Georgian citizenship cannot become president, speaker of parliament or prime minister.
Lawmakers are so far not going into details about the bill, but Vakhtang Khmaladze, head of parliament’s judiciary committee, said that they will present the draft in a few days.
Today, Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili told journalists that the current edition of the constitution, which was amendment specifically for Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, has some shortcomings.
When Ivanishvili first announced that he was planning to go into politics, Saakashvili revoked his citizenship. At the time he was Russian and French citizen also, but he handed in his Russian passport and started fighting to get back his Georgian citizenship, which was granted to him by Saakashvili in 2004 for special merits to the country.
The court battle, which started in October 2011, ended unsuccessfully. But after some criticism from the international community, Saakashvili’s National Movement party adopted a constitutional amendment which allowed a foreign citizen to stand for election and hold the three top posts in the country.
It was thought that the amendment was made with only one person in mind: Bidzina Ivanishvili, who was and still remains a French citizen only. After the change of government, the president gave him a citizenship through naturalization, but he will only become a Georgian citizen when he renounces his French one, which he cannot do, because he will lose the right to be prime minister.
The National Movement, now in opposition, criticizes Georgian Dream for wanting to amend the constitution out of regard for one person; Ivanishvili.
Davit Usupashvili also avoided to mention any details about the draft bill.
He explained that now while he is only a French citizen the prime minister has the right to engage in political activism, and the law allows a foreigner to become president or prime minister in Georgia.
“But let’s say if I become a citizen of another country, I cannot be speaker of parliament anymore. Is that logical and normal?” Usupashvili asked, according to Interpressnews.