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Majority to Hold Consultations about Next President’s Residence

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, May 10
Ruling party Georgian Dream (GD) is going to hold consultations where the next president’s residence should be.

The Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze believes that it is not necessary the president lived in the Presidential Palace, located in Avlabari District, Old Tbilisi.

“The President’s Palace should be in compliance with his role and the function,” Kobakhidze said.

He added the consultations will be held in GD regarding the issue.

“The next president should also be involved in these consultations. This is the decision that should be made on the basis of general principles," he said.

Georgia’s Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs, Davit Sergeenko thinks the president, as well as the governmental officials, should not have luxurious residences.

"I think the president, prime minister or other officials and ministers should have maximally modest residences,” he stated.

Sergeenko added that the consultations are underway in GD about choosing a presidential candidate. According to him, the details will be known after the party congress.

However, parliamentary minority, European Georgia, believes the president’s place is the Presidential Palace.

Davit Bakradze, one of the leaders of the party, says if their candidate wins the presidential race, he will definitely live in the palace.

“Talks about allocating smaller place for the presidential residence weaken the institute itself. If Georgia is a state, its institutions need to be respected, including the president, so I believe that such talks are unnecessary,” he added.

Presidential elections in Georgia are scheduled for October 2018.

The GD majority started talks about the Presidential Palace two years ago. They urged the President Giorgi Margvelashvili to leave Avlabari Palace and move to Atoneli Presidential Residence.

There are two presidential residences and two parliament buildings in Georgia. The President currently resides in the Avlabari palace of the former President Saakashvili. However, the Atoneli residence was prepared for Margvelashvili after his election in 2013.

Before his election, Margvelahsvili stated that he would not take the Presidential Palace in Avlabari, built by Mikheil Saakashvili, due to 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.