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Tbilisi parliament emptied, sold?

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, September 18
From time to time it appears in Georgian media that in the former parliament building there is dismantled infrastructure and furniture is being removed. Officials deny this, although journalists managed to take videos and photos of the activities conducted inside the parliament. The situation is very strange; the building is a historic one. For many years it was the house for the government of Soviet Georgia. The act of Georgia’s declaring its independence in 1992 was performed and the documents were signed there. Since then, for almost 20 years Georgia's parliamentary sessions were held there.

Some years ago President Saakashvili attempted to partially move the parliament from Tbilisi to Kutaisi, later it was decided that entire parliament move to Kutaisi. And so it did... In a hasty way, a modern building was constructed in Kutaisi, the symbolic first session was held on May 26, 2012 with the Kutaisi parliament building still being under construction. It is for sure that the new parliament, which will be chosen by way of elections on October 1, will convene in Kutaisi.

However, there is an option to change this. During the previous parliament, all opposition members no matter inside or outside the parliament were against the idea of moving parliament to Kutaisi and many of them demanded a referendum to be held concerning this issue. There is a concern that even supporters of the Saakashvili administration are not very happy with this decision. So maybe this is the reason that the administration keeps in secret what is going on in the parliament building. It has become known that the Ilia Chavchavadze and Georgian Democratic Republic halls have already been dismantled, as well as the major hall for holding plenary sessions. The furniture has been removed and technical facilities, loudspeakers and other devices for voting have also been removed. All this has taken place in a confidential manner, no journalists are allowed in the building and what is most suspicious is that the officials deny these facts.

As such, these are some questions that need to be answered: why is the current administration in such a hurry to dismantle the parliamentary building? If the UNM wins, it will surely continue running the new parliament in Kutaisi. If the UNM loses, it will be obliged to answer for these actions as well. However, journalists have drawn attention to one comment made by the chairman of the parliament David Bakradze, which he gave concerning the possibility of the continuation of the must carry rules after October 1. He stated that such a decision needed parliament support, but due to technical reasons, the parliament session could not be held for the time being. Bakradze did not specify what technical difficulties existed. However, it is not difficult to guess– the major hope for parliament sessions does not exist any more. Rezonansi journalists think that the decision to dismantle parliament rooms was taken for the reason of not holding extraordinary parliamentary sessions even in the most urgent need of holding such sessions.