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President refuses to respond to ex-PM’s criticism

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, October 27
The President has refused to comment on the statements made by Georgia’s former Prime Minister, the founder of the Georgian Dream coalition, Bidzina Ivanishvili. The billionaire former PM has – not for the first time - criticized President Giorgi Margvelahsvili for his actions and statements.

"We have been hearing some statements about backstage conversations for the last two years. The President's position is known about the issue. He is not going to comment on any backstage conversations. He has not and will not make any similar statements,” said Tina Mzhavanadze, the President’s spokesperson.

In his recent interview with Imedi TV, Ivanishvili talked about the President, as well as some other issues.

According to him, he had argued with the President about the Bobokvati and Avlabari residences.

Ivanishvili stressed that Margvelashvili changed his position when elected, and decided to live in the Presidential Palace that put unnecessary strain on the state budget, ignoring the fact that the other residence had been renovated for him.

Moreover, Ivanishvili said that Margvelashvili also demanded the Bobokveti seaside residence for himself.

Ivanishvili also criticized Margvelashvili for his statement over the Rustavi 2 situation, and called it “absolutely irresponsible”.

Following the legal dispute over the channel’s current and former owners and rallies on behalf of Rustavi 2, Margvelashvili stated that some civil confrontation might take place and announced the launch of discussions with the diplomatic corps, the media and political players.

Diplomats, media and opposition politicians have already met with the President.

After the meetings, Margvelashvili appealed to the Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker for discussions over the private broadcaster’s issues and recent developments in the country.

However, the officials have not yet respoded.

Rustavi 2's former owner Kibar Khalvashi is demanding his shares back, as according to him he was illegally deprived of the shares under the previous state leadership.

The broadcaster and the opposition party, the United National Movement, are stating that the government is involved in the issue, aiming to close the “most critical and impartial” media outlet. Meanwhile, the government dismissed accusations that it has interfered in the process, saying the dispute is a legal and civil matter which only concerns the broadcaster’s current and former shareholders.