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Individuals with dual citizenship might be allowed on highest posts

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, May 29
The Georgian constitution might permit individuals with dual citizenship to occupy the posts of prime minister, parliament chair and president. According to the members of the Georgian Dream coalition, a change “is not excluded.”

Head of the Parliament’s Legal Committee, Vakhtang Khmaladze, claims that the changes to the constitution planned by the ruling team envisages modifications in the article of the constitution that regulates taking the highest state positions.

“Through the current constitution, individuals having dual citizenship are not permitted to take the highest state posts. I think that the issue requires some changes. What changes will be carried out will be known to the public soon,” Khmaladze suggested.

Khmaladze admitted that it’s possible that individuals with dual citizenship will be permitted to serve as the president, prime minister and the parliament chair.

It should be noted that before the parliamentary elections, held in October 2012, the issue was raised by the opposition Christian-Democratic movement. However, the initiative was negatively assessed that time. Some analysts claimed that the change to the constitution could be used by hostile states.

Political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze told The Messenger that currently this change might be “more positive than negative.” Sakvarelidze emphasized that the migration rate of Georgians to other countries is too high and those individuals should have the right to run for these positions.

“The law should not be an obstacle for them...people should decide through the elections whether the candidate is worth voting for or not,” Sakvarelidze stated.

Analyst in conflict issues, Malkhaz Chemia, underscored that in the framework of the new government, the risk of lobbyist of an enemy state taking essential posts is reduced.

“The risk existed more in the frame of the former government when one man was taking control of all the state institutions. The risks of taking the highest posts by an inadequate candidate in general, is significantly reduced by the active moves of the state instructions and especially by the civil sector,” Chemia told The Messenger, adding that the civil sector is active and critical enough to inform the public about certain candidates.

Head of Elections and Political Technologies Research Centre Kakha Kakhishvili told The Messenger that the citizens of foreign states should not be permitted to take high positions.

“If we are talking about giving the rights to individuals that have dual citizenship, I would say that first of all, dual citizenship should be allowed in the country (and not in cases where the president decides who will have dual citizenship and who will not) and only after the issue is appropriately discussed. Therefore, it should be strictly specified how long an individual should have lived in Georgia to take a high position... if an individual has not lived in the country for ten years, how might he take the presidential post?” Kakhishili said, adding that the statements that there is a staff problem in Georgia are a “myth” as well as the prolongation of the United National Movement policy by the new government’s side.

“The problem is that people are appointed through friendship, from relatives or close people; competitions are not announced and the heads of the state structures are not professionals in many cases,” Kakhishvili stated.