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The whereabouts of Georgia's governing institutions

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, October 23
Apart from arranging and distributing the powers of the governing bodies in Georgia, the issue of where the different governing bodies will be located has become very important as of late. The governing Georgian Dream coalition plans to relocate various high-level institutions after the new president is inaugurated.

For instance, during his presidency Mikheil Saakashvili built a presidential residence in the Avlabari district in Tbilisi, but as the coalition announced on October 18, after the new president is elected, the residence will be changed and the new head of the country will be settled in the building at Atoneli Street where the US Embassy was previously located.

When the United National Movement (UNM) was in office, this building was designed to be used as the Prime Ministerís residence. The building at Atoneli Street is currently under construction and before it is finished, the new presidentís administration will be located at the State Chancellery where the head of the Security Council and various state ministers' administrations are located.

As the Georgian PM Bidzina Ivanishvili stated, it is expensive for the country to maintain the Avlabari presidential palace, and first, it does not correspond to the new status of the president, whose rights and powers have been reduced. It is not known so far how this presidential palace will be used. There are various suggestions to open an art gallery, or allocate the ministry of foreign affairs. It is also possible to use it as a hotel.

The location of the Georgian parliamentary building is another hot issue. Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Usupashvili, has recently stated that it is planned, that the building would return from Kutaisi to Tbilisi in spring 2014. When the UNM administration removed the building from the capital to Kutaisi, demolishment of the Tbilisi parliament building was hastily started. However, after the change of government, this process was stopped and the reconstruction started.

Usupashvili said, more than half of the reconstruction of the former parliamentary building is over. Presumably the work will be completed by February 2014. But apart form the technical topics there are some legislative and formal issues to be solved. First of all, amendments should be introduced to the state constitution as President Saakashvili previously introduced a special clause to the constitution, stating that parliament sessions should only be held in Kutaisi. To amend the constitution is not so easily done however. The Georgian Dream MPs could not collect enough votes to receive 2/3 of the votes in parliament. This is the amount necessary to introduce amendments to the state constitution.

Moreover, as soon as the new president is elected, automatically the required votes for the constitutional changes will reach ? of the total number of MPs which will be extremely difficult to achieve.

Saakashvili and his supporters continue lamenting about removing the parliament from Kutaisi back to Tbilisi saying that it will damage the concept of Kutaisiís revival. On his side, Usupashvili suggested that certain international organizations would consider relocating to the parliamentary building in Kutaisi and use it as its regional headquarters, where it would be covering and monitoring not only the Caucasus region but the central Asia. If this plan is fulfilled, it would be very beneficial for Kutaisi.

So, certain moves are in the works. The president and PM should be sheltered somewhere. The parliament should return to Tbilisi. As such, the Georgian government is quite busy.