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Exclusive TV interview with PM

By Ana Robakidze
Thursday, March 7
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili provided an exclusive interview to TV Imedi on March 5. Ivanishvili answered questions about the previous government, relations with Russia, as well as the plans of his government and upcoming constitutional amendments.

Ivanishvili accused the president in exceeding his power and controlling everything in the country, from the political situation to art and architecture. “He created a pseudo opposition and business monopolies,” PM said in his interview.

“Saakashvili managed to establish a situation where parliament does not have actual power and its existence is just a formality,” the PM said, while speaking about the planned constitutional amendments, which aim to balance the power between the parliament and president, finally establishing a parliamentary system in Georgia. He is confident that the amendments will be supported not only by his party, but also by several members of the United National Movement and the amendments will be adopted by the absolute majority of votes in the Parliament.

The PM also spoke about the role of society in the political life of the country. “Society has high expectations and request from us to restore justice immediately… We are hired by the people and have an obligation to fulfill their will.”

Ivanishvili also spoke about the possibility of meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin and said that it is too early to speak about this sort of meetings. However, he confirmed that relations with Russia need to be settled somehow and the government is ready to do everything possible to achieve that goal. Ivanishvili explained that to arrange a meeting with high-ranking officials of Russia requires certain steps of preparation and creating a background. “Diplomacy needs to work in this situation.” PM said.

He stressed the importance of mutual cultural relations with Russia. “First steps need to be taken in culture,” Ivanishvili said, adding that sports and the Sochi Olympic Games should play the same role. The PM confirmed that Georgia will not boycott the games and will participate in the Sochi games.

According to Ivanishvili his team will work hard to deepen relations with Georgia’s “biggest strategic partner– the U.S." He is going to visit the U.S. as it has been planned, though the PM preferred to postpone his visit. Ivanishvili explained that Europe and the U.S. have been provided with misleading information about the internal situation in Georgia. The PM is going to fix the political situation in the country and pay an official visit to the U.S. only afterwards.

The MP also spoke in his interview about the recent meeting with President Saakashvili. According to the PM, apart from other important issues, they spoke about future integration with the European Union. Ivanishvili said that the president expressed his concerns about the integration process, saying that the European Peoples Party (EPP) may become an obstacle for the country.

Political analyst Nika Chitadze told The Messenger it is possible that the EPP or any other European institution will become an obstacle for Georgia at Vilnius Summit. However, the situation can be fixed and it all depends on the government. “The EPP has strict demands from the new government,” Chitadze says. He is sure that we can avoid problems with EPP and other institutions by strengthening democracy in the country. The government should make sure that the legislative system, local self-governance and the media are free from any political pressure and influence.

“In case the President and PM really had any similar conversation about the EPP, that means that there might be some risks for Georgia and the situation needs to be fixed urgently,” analyst says. He believes that lobbyist groups can create only a general image of Georgia. However, the real work should be done by the government to make a positive impression on European institutions.