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How about dual citizenship?

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, September 9
One of the issues raised during the discussions of the new constitution was whether a person with dual citizenship should be eligible to be appointed to a political post. The new draft constitution envisages that someone with dual citizenship can not become the president, PM or chairman of parliament. There have also been further suggestions that someone with dual citizenship should also not be eligible for other high political office. There are no restrictions in the current constitution, but this constitution has no mention whatsoever of dual citizenship, since officially we do not have dual citizenship bar a few exceptions. Now however gaining dual citizenship in Georgia is becoming easier and increasingly common.

Minister of justice during the Shevardnadze era, Joni Khetsuriani thinks that there should be wider restrictions regarding the types of high political office that those people with dual citizenship may hold. For instance he considers it completely unacceptable for a person with dual citizenship to be the defence minister.

The ruling authorities and party are restrained from introducing extra restrictions. David Bakradze, the Parliamentary Chair said Georgia should not close the doors to representatives of the Georgian Diaspora who might have already become citizens of other countries but want to keep links with their own country. The door should be open, there should be stimuli for Georgians to return to Georgia, to bring their knowledge and take any position, thinks Bakradze.

Of course Georgia should encourage Georgians to come back home and take important jobs but if people did this then it would be better if they relinquished their other citizenships and became Georgian citizens. This would be morally, ethically and patriotically more acceptable. Here we should recall a very awkward situation when, during the war with Russia and several months after it, Georgia’s foreign minister Vashadze held two passports. He was simultaneously a Russian and Georgian citizen and only in the following year, 2009 did he give up his Russian citizenship. However it seems that the ruling authorities do not agree with this point of view and we have some people with dual citizenship in highly ranked official positions. For example, the recently appointed Minister of Economy, Vera Kobalia was a Canadian citizen when invited to Georgia where she became minister; there may well be others occupying high level governmental positions.