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Ivanishvili's resignation: who will fill the void?

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, June 26
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishviliís statement to regarding his resignation after the October 2013 Presidential Election has created great agitation in Georgia.

There is an opinion that although Ivanishviliís leave of politics is early, if there is no essential change in the state constitution and legislation of Georgia, he will be forced to leave PMís position anyway.

The explanation to this situation is simple. The Georgian PM is a citizen of France. You can hardly find any PM in the world who is the citizen of any other country. Maybe there are or were several cases, but it would have been rare.

When Ivanishvili first entered the Georgian political arena he held the citizenship of three countries at the same time: France, Russia and Georgia. As soon as this fact was learned he immediately lost his Georgian citizenship. Sometime later he gave up his Russian citizenship and currently he remains a citizen of France.

The United National Movement (UNM) has introduced a special amendment to the state constitution specifically for Ivanishvili according to which a citizen of an EU member state could participate in the Parliamentary or Presidential Elections and hold high-ranking positions until January 1, 2014. This date is approaching.

So, according to the current state constitution from January 1, 2014 Ivanishvili will have no right to continue his political activities as PM. What is the solution? Probably to introduce yet another amendment allowing people with double citizenship to hold high political posts in Georgia. There is another precondition as well. Ivanishvili should be given back his Georgian citizenship.

Certainly, after the upcoming Presidential Election the new President will definitely restore his citizenship. As for holding a high political position with dual citizenship, which is a usual practice in certain countries, it still requires constitutional amendments which the Georgian Dream does not currently possess in the parliament.

All these formalities should be done quickly in November-December, 2013. Otherwise, the PM will have to give up his post anyway.

Another reason for the speculations is the question of who will be the possible replacement for Ivanishvili as Prime Minister. Analysts mainly name current Minister of Internal Affairs, Irakli Gharibashvili; Justice Minister, Thea Tsulukiani; Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Usupashvili; and Georgian businessman in Russia, Levan Vasadze. Some analysts suggest that Ivanishvili might be in favor of Gharibsahvili.

Still Ivanishviliís resignation could become a serious problem for the country. Today not only his direct supporters, but the rest of society are unanimous that Ivanishvili should stay on as PM. His possible resignation and leaving his successor, whoever this person might be, will create confrontation and competition in the country. As for the model suggested personally by Ivanishvili to monitor the situation in the country from behind the scene? This creates doubts and suspicions.

Snap parliamentary elections would thus be necessary. The results of this election might considerably change the current configuration of the political forces in Georgia.