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PM meets with the media

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, April 11
Prime Minister of Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili, met with the editors of the TV and printed media on April 10. Ivanishvili answered their questions and touched upon practically all the painful issues for the state.

According to the Prime Minister he supports the investigation of the August War, as there are many “obscure things” regarding the war. He also stressed that the questioning of a president is a normal event in any democratic state and Mikheil Saakashvili should also “take it with understanding if he is called for this procedure.”

Ivanishvili also spoke about the April 19 street rally planned by the United National Movement. The PM highlighted that the reason of the rally (defending Georgia’s pro-west orientation) is “meaningless” and Georgian residents in the regions are being given money to participate in the rally.

“Despite the fact the government will ensure all conditions for holding the rally, the threat that the UNM will stage some provocations exists,” Ivanishvili suggested.

Prime Minister responded to the speculations on a possible government reshuffle. According to him no changes are planned in the government.

“I think that we have a quite an efficient government with good ministers. There are some questions with respect of two or three ministers… but in general we have a good government and we are not going to replace anyone,” Ivanishvili stated.

Ivanishvili stated that he has questions for the prosecutor’s office, as there are still some individuals that have committed illegal actions.

“However, the prosecutor’s office is a specific structure and everyone will not work there. Thus, the changing of the staff is a gradual process. Reforms have been launched in court and the prosecutor’s office and the results of these actions will definitely be positive,” Ivanishvili said

The PM also underscored that he has already selected the presidential candidate of the coalition. However, he stated that firstly he will announce the name inside his team and the final decision will be made in May.

PM Ivanishvili said on April 10 that “problems exist” in the Georgian Orthodox Church too and speaking publicly on these issues should not be a taboo.

Ivanishvili was speaking during a press conference, held for a group of senior editors from some print media and major television channels. He made these remarks after he was asked about his stance on relations between the state and the Georgian Orthodox Church in general and in particular on recent debates in which some senior Orthodox clerics were criticized for driving luxury cars in a country with a large number of socially vulnerable people; critics also claimed that spending of taxpayers’ funds, received from the state budget, by the Church was not transparent.

“The Church should be independent from the state,” Ivanishvili responded, adding that Orthodox Christianity “is a huge part of our culture, so I have a huge respect” towards the Church.

“How religious personally I am – that’s another issue and it’s not interesting for you,” he said.

He defended practice of allocating funding to the Georgian Orthodox Church from the state budget. This year the Church has GEL 25 million funding from the state budget.

“But the state should not in any way try to use levers to influence on the Church,” PM said.