Debate on Relocation Of Presidential Residence

Georgian politicians have resumed the debate on relocating the presidential residence from the Presidential Palace in Tbilisi's Avlabari district to an alternative location on Atoneli Street.

Salome Zurabishvili, an independent presidential candidate who is thought to, implicitly, enjoy the campaign endorsement of the ruling party, stated that she will move to the presidential residence to Atoneli if she is elected president.

“The Avlabari Palace should be used either by the country’s prime minister or foreign minister, or be used as a common venue for diplomatic visits, but it should not be occupied by the president – the president should be in a place that fits the position's role and responsibilities,” said Zurabishvili.

Zurabishvili’s remarks drew mixed reactions, with MP Otar Kakhidze of the European Georgia party saying her statement was an attempt to please the leader of the Georgian Dream political party, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

 “We are categorically against the relocation. The president must be in the building laid out by the legislation,” Kakhidze stated.

The presidential candidate of the UNM-led coalition, Grigol Vashadze, said that there is no other venue as convenient as the Avlabari Palace for hosting a president who will be defending citizens’ rights.

The Presidential Palace in Avlabari was built on the order of former UNM president Mikheil Saakashvili; construction was completed in 2009.

Presidential elections will be held on October 28, 2018.

By Shawn Wayne

15 August 2018 12:58