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More modesty for president and the government

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, November 6
The question still remains as to whether or not the Georgian Dream will manage to say goodbye to the current president on January 5, 2013 when his five-year presidential term expires. To accomplish this, it will require constitutional changes. However, one thing is for certain, the Georgian Dream can suggest to President Saakashvili to lead a more modest life. With regard to the 2013 State Budget, the amounts allocated for the president will be reduced considerably. In addition, when all the figures are made available to the public that were spent maintaining the presidentís luxurious life-style, his public rating will diminish considerably. It will also further increase the respect towards the new policy of leading a modest life for the officials.

On November 2, Bidzina Ivanishvili announced that the new government will not allocate incredibly large amounts of money for presidential needs. He also recommended that President Saakashvili leave the Presidential Palace and move his office to the 11th floor of the State Chancellery Building (formerly occupied by Eduard Shevardnadze). Ivanishvili mentioned that until now, the exact amount spent on the construction of the palace was not available. However, it is said that the electricity bills alone come to 800, 000 GEL annually. Maintenance of the presidentís palace, the salaries for employees and other expenses will also be cut.

Ivanishvili believes the president should not continue his term over 5 years as it expires on January 5, 2013. In addition, new Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, aired information on the 800 000 GEL spent from the ministryís monthly budget that was used to cover the costs of the presidentís second plane. 13 million has already been paid and the ministry is liable to pay an extra 17 million. We are not going to spend this amount in future stated Alasania. The purchase of the second plane for the president Gulfstream 5 was discussed in 2011. NGOs and political parties aired the information of buying this plane for $160 million. However no precise information was ever available until today.

Ivanishvili stressed upon the fact that the former leadership led a luxurious life, but kept all the expenses confidential. He mentioned the new parliament building in Kutaisi, and explained that while no figures are currently available, presumably a huge amount of money was spent without any urgent need. The presidentís administration responded to Ivanishviliís statements mentioning that the presidentís palace does not belong to a private person, but is the building for the president of Georgia.

One of the leaders of the United National Movement (UNM), David Darchiashvili, mentioned that the presidentís palace is a sign of the country and every country needs a certain building like this. Despite protests from the UNM, Georgian Dream will continue to encourage the president to lead a more modest life.