The Modest Charm of the Bourgeoisie


As time passes, Georgian politics has come to resemble a surrealistic plot from the films of Spanish director Luis Buñuel, where absurd becomes reality and reality becomes absurd. A private individual threatens to evict the President from the presidential palace and is confident in his victory. This plot indeed resembles absurd, nevertheless, this is the reality of Georgian politics today and what’s more important this reality carries the meaning of to be or not to be.

Following on from broadcasting company Rustavi 2, the ex-premier (Bidzina Ivanishvili) opened another line on the front. This time President Margvelashvili was the object of elimination. The billionaire says that the reign of President Margvelashvili in the presidential residence will soon come to an end and the head of the country will be evicted from the building through the power of law. Does Ivanishvili have any kind of legal leverage to achieve this, when the president is categorically against leaving the Avlabari Residence? Does the billionaire have any kind of resources other than his money to achieve this goal and what’s more important, how do the goals of the ex-premier fit into the political and legal setting? Let us start with the legal side. Despite the fact that, according to the law in force, the government has the competency to allocate a building for the work of state, according to the Constitution, the President is granted the right to determine the nature of his work and the place he works, himself. As President Margvelashvili decided himself that the Avlabari residence is the place for his work, any kind of legal way to evict him is unimaginable unless Margvelashvili himself agrees to change the location for carrying out his work. However, the President is categorically against leaving the Avlabari Residence and moving to the former USA Embassy building on Atoneli Street, exactly the building that Ivanishvili has chosen as the place for the President’s dislocation.

Specialists in Constitutional Justice believe that the only way to move the President and his Administration out of the Avlabari Palace is through the Court, however, who the claimant will be in this case, be it citizen Ivanishvili or Prime Minister Garibashvili, is yet unknown. If we judge by the words of the active Prime Minister, then he does not plan on publishing any kind of governmental normative act about the eviction of the President. On the contrary, Garibashvili thinks that even talking about this is insulting and that the President himself should decide whether to stay in the “half-a-billion value Palace” built by Mikheil Saakashvili or not. “If I were in his place, I would move to the Atoneli Residence, which was prepared especially for the President,” PM Garibashvili told journalists. The PM faces difficult negotiations with Ivanishvili, during which he needs to convince his idol to leave the case of eviction of President Margvelashvili alone. Especially after Ivanishvili’s statement in which he advertised the eviction of Margvelashvili in advance.

It is truly difficult to forecast how these events surrounding Margvelashvili will develop and it is yet unknown what the government will think of next in order to satisfy Ivanishvili’s ambitions. It is clear that Garibashvili’s Office has quite a lot to think about, however, and if we follow the controversy theory, this issue is more in the competency of a removal company than of the government.

Zaza Jgarkava

19 November 2015 22:06