TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s richest is not going to apply to the president for double citizenship.
Bidzina Ivanishvili’s citizenship issue is still unresolved. Six months has passed since the president revoked it, which happened four days after the businessman released an open letter laying out plans of going into politics for the parliamentary elections.
Mikheil Saakashvili granted Bidzina Ivanishivli Georgian citizenship in 2004 out of special merits to the country. But in 2011, he revoked it.
In January 2012, the businessman applied to the president for a citizenship via naturalization, as he was born in Georgia and fulfills the criteria to be given citizenship this way.
But on April 5, the Ministry of Justice rejected the application, explaining that citizenship by naturalization is not given to citizens of another country.
In 2011, when businessman declared his political goals, he was Russian and French citizen, but said he wanted to remain only Georgian citizen and give away both passports. After his Georgian citizenship was revoked, he gave away his Russian passport and applied for renouncing his French citizenship too, but France will only fulfill this after he again is a Georgian citizen.
Ivanishvili’s lawyer argue that Georgian legislation foresees giving citizenship through naturalization exactly to citizens of foreign countries. “People aren’t falling from the sky, they are citizens of a certain country,” one of them said.
The Ministry of Justice wrote that Ivanishvili should have appealed for double citizenship.
“This is rule, when only one person — the president — decides whether to grant citizenship to a citizen of another country. Considering that Ivanishvili is a person whose citizenship Saakashvili already revoked once, we consider it illogical to again apply to him with a request to grant citizenship,” Maia Panjikidze, spokesperson for Ivanishvili’s group said Tuesday at a press conference.
Georgian legislation doesn’t allow non-citizens to participate in elections, get involved in political process or finance political subjects.
However, recently an opposition party in parliament suggested constitutional amendments(https://dfwatch.net/georgia-to-amend-constitution-in-ivanishvili-case-45291), which foresees granting right to participate in elections to EU citizens who have lived in Georgia for the last ten years. However, a non-Georgian citizen will still not have the right to vote.