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Candidate Zourabichvili: President Should Not Live in Avlabari Residence

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, August 13
Salome Zourabichvili, an independent presidential candidate who will likely be supported by the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party in the race, says that the future president should not live in Avlabari palace, the current president’s residence.

Zourabichvili noted that the presidential palace in Avlabari is a state-owned building, where she thinks that the country's premier or foreign ministry should move in in the future.

“The Avlabari residence is the symbol of the state. This is why the Prime Minister, or Foreign Minister, should live there or it can be commonplace for receiving foreign guests. The government will make the decision,” she explained.

Zourabichvili says if elected, she will be a different president, who will go to the market herself and often meet people to be well aware of their problems.

The ruling GD has several times raised the issue of Avlabari residence, located in Avlabari District, Old Tbilisi and urging the current president Giorgi Margvelashvili to move to Atoneli residence, prepared for him after his election in 2013.

Before his election, Margvelashvili stated that he would not take the Presidential Palace in Avlabari, built by the previous president Mikheil Saakashvili, due to the high cost of its original construction and subsequent maintenance.

He changed his mind after being elected and stated that he would not leave the Avlabari residence.

There are no legal norms that can make the president change his official residence. However, the GD has been claiming the Avlabari palace will not be a place of residence for the future president.

The presidential elections will be held on October 28. At present, there are 12 candidates, who have registered themselves at the Central Election Commission.

The ruling GD stated they will not present their candidate while the president says he has not decided yet if he takes part in the race or not.