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Saakashvili in a hurry to move Parliament to Kutaisi

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, April 17
According to constitutional amendments Georgian Parliament will be moved to Kutaisi in 2012. The current Government held the majority vote in Parliament which will see plenary sessions held in Kutaisi starting May 1st this year. Opposition has expressed its negativity towards this decision and Saakashvili's haste to move Parliament to Kutaisi, a sentiment also held by many Georgians, who are curious why the Government's in such a hurry to move.

The Opposition says Government does not want to wait for the election of new a Parliament; it just stubbornly wants to move to Kutaisi.

Saakashvili’s initiative to move Parliament to Kutaisi has been explained with different arguments: the wish to develop Kutaisi, to develop the country towards the seaside; and the fact Russian tanks are very close to Tbilisi. Opposition says the current Government is making a hasty retreat from the Capital due to fears of protest movements. Opposition leader Jondi Baghaturia says protest rallies in Tbilisi can attract up to half a million people, whereas the population in Kutaisi is much smaller. Baghaturia said during the 2009 protest rallies, MPs couldn't enter Parliament and plenary sessions had to be held in different places throughout Georgia.

However, the Parliament building in Kutaisi is not yet ready to host normal plenary sessions.

Opposition highlights expenditure by the current Government saying 200 million GEL has already been poured into the new Parliament building, which has yet to be completed. Opposition is also quite anxious at Saakashvili’s statement to call Kutaisi a 'Parliamentary Capital'. Opposition says Tbilisi is the Capital of Georgia, and there is no possibility to call another place in Georgia a 'Capital' by any institution or sphere.

Opposition members have voiced their concerns, and tried to give arguments for their protest, but it is unlikely Parliament will repeal its decision.

A new issue regarding the utilization of the former Parliament building in the center of Tbilisi has also arisen. The Minister of Economy Kobalia, has said the location of the Parliament building could be very attractive to foreign investors. This issue has become very controversial, as many are concerned about the fate of Parliament building in Tbilisi.