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Tbilisi Mayor is asked to leave government session

By Messenger Staff
Monday, November 12
Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava is facing his first confrontation with the new Georgian Dream government. It became known just before the old government of the National Movement resigned that then PM Vano Merabishvili, issued a decree according to which, the liabilities of paying pensions and social allowances for nearly 600, 000 Tbilisi citizens was transferred from the Mayor’s office to the country’s government. The new government of course did not like the idea and just a couple of days later, once a new government was established under Bidzina Ivanishvili as the PM, this decree was abolished and the responsibility of paying these liabilities was transferred back to the Tbilisi Mayor’s office.

The idea behind it was that the Mayor’s office had this money in its budget for 2012. So money should be distributed by this office. It was the decision of the PM. Mayor Gigi Ugulava protested this decision and loudly pronounced that there was the threat that Tbilisi citizens would not receive social support and he was putting all these responsibilities on the new government. With this demand to clear up the issue, Gigi Ugulava entered the Georgian government session, where PM Ivanishvili explained to him that this issue was not on the agenda of the government session and therefore Ugulava had to leave the session and he would be invited if necessary. Ivanishvili told Ugulava that he was not a member of the government and his presence at the session was not allowed. This caused the utmost indignation from Ugulava’s side. However, Ivanishvili’s government is now asking the Prosecutor’s office to investigate in this direction and find out why the liabilities of the mayor’s office where transferred to the central government.

Ugulava’s position is not favorable, as well as the position of former PM Vano Merabishvili, because during the first half of October, when it was clear that the new government was coming, certain manipulations were conducted and several million GEL were re-directed to various destination. Current minister of Finance Nodar Khaduri protested this decision and demanded that the Mayor’s office fulfill its commitments. It has been reported that the money had been allotted for the Tbilisi budget. Commenting about the incident, Ugulava stated that the government is ignoring the needs of its citizens. However, the new government does not intend to retreat from the demands of the Mayor to stop pointing at the government and rather fulfill its duties.

Several commentators think that under such circumstances, the mayor’s position is not very favorable and eventually he might face additional problems.