TBILISI, DFWatch – President Saakashvili has signed a set of constitutional changes which allow his main competitor to participate in parliamentary and presidential elections.
The changes will allow a citizen of an EU country, who is born in Georgia and has lived here for the last five years, to participate in elections and to hold three top-positions in the country: President, Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker. But the provision will automatically expire on January 1, 2014.
The changes were made to cater to Bidzina Ivanishvili, who was stripped of his Georgian citizenship and got restricted of all political rights.
Government officials, as well as lawmakers, said the changes were made in order to avoid speculation that political players are having their rights restricted in Georgia.
But the facts are that the popular philanthropist Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is the country’s richest person and has contributed to both government and others, one day decided to go into politics.
He declared his political goals in October 2011, and four days later Saakashvili revoked his Georgian citizenship, which the president himself had granted to the businessman on the basis of special merits to the country.
Since than, Ivanishvili and his group of lawyers have been fighting to restore his Georgian citizenship, but without success.
In a letter to the president Bidzina Ivanishvili asked the president not to sign these constitutional changes. He writes that they are not normal and it is the only precedent in the world of a non-citizen to have such political rights. He said if the president signs those changes and they come into force, then he still won’t use these rights.
Ivanishvili’s next move will be to apply to the president for double citizenship, as he is a French citizen now. That application is being prepared and will soon be sent.