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Who will reside at the Atoneli Residence?

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, April 22
Open and hidden confrontations are quite characteristic for Georgian politics. However, some cases certain controversies emerge unexpectedly.

Government representatives stated on April 20 that renovation works at the residence located on Atoneli Street have been finished.

The information triggered speculation that the President might be demanded to leave the Avlabari presidential residence and move to the newly recondition building.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili declared many times that he did not intend to quit his current accommodation, though since his election he has seemingly modified his position.

However, it was Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili who showed interest in the Atoneli residence and its renovation.

“The construction is ready to live in. The next stage is giving the site to the Ministry of Economics that will deliver it presumably to the President, or the government will decide how to use it in the future,” Minister of Infrastructure Davit Shaliashvili said, noting that the Atoneli Residence had been refurbished based on the President’s tastes.

Thus, the government will make a solution whether to offer the building to the President’s administration or not.

The fact is that the Atoneli residence is no longer in the list of constructions targeted for privatization.

Minister of Economics Giorgi Kvirikashvili said that it has been removed from the list due to its specificity, as investors are less likely to get interested in its purchase.

“The construction is aimed for higher officials and its remaking for some other purposes would be result in huge expenses,” the minister said.

The President’s administration has already revealed its negative mood to the mention of the Atoneli Residence in the context of the President.

The President’s legal advisor, Kakha Kozhoridze, has stressed that Margvelashvili has already expressed his firm position concerning his decision regarding residence in the palace.

“Repeatedly discussing these issues is related to an attempt to somehow discredit the President’s powers,” Kozhoridze said.

Members of the opposition party, United National Movement ( UNM), claim that the issue was raised through the demand of former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who apparently dislikes the current President and runs the Georgian Dream coalition behind scenes.

The issue of the President's residence was one of the initial topics that caused a rift between Ivanishvili and Margvelahvili.

Margvelashvili, who stated before the elections that he would not occupy the Avlabari Residence built under the previous authorities, changed his position when elected as President.

Ivanishvili stressed that Margvelashvili should have kept his word and should not move to the palace that requires a million for electricity and some other expenses monthly.

The point in the story is that perhaps politicians should think about the state interest before all else; no matter whether it is the president, the prime minister or some other high or low ranking officials.

It is obvious that such petty controversies can only damage our image in the eyes of our partners and please our enemies, especially as we now face various foreign challenges.