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Reshuffle of President’s administration

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, June 16
The President's foreign policy adviser Vano Machavariani and the head of the President’s administration Lasha Abashidze stepped down on June 13. According to the decree released by the President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s press service, both of them resigned “based on their own initiative”. However, Machavariani states that the president asked him to quit the position.

Giorgi Abashishvili has already been appointed to the position of the president’s advisor. He was a deputy dean at Ilia State University Business School previously.

Vano Machavariani was one of the reasons the founder of the Georgian Dream coalition, Bidzina Ivanishvili, criticized Margvelashvili after taking office. On May 18, on Imedi TV, Bidzina Ivanishvili said, “Margvelashvili failed to provide a response to my question concerning Vano Machavariani – as to why Vano Machavariani became a favorite of the new president Margvelashvili when his brother, Misha Machavariani, is clearly a favorite of the previous president Mikheil Saakashvili,” Ivanishvili stated then.

Machavariani did not hide that the statement made by Ivanishvili was frequently discussed between him and Margvealshvili. The Georgian media has intensively speculated on the controversy between the President and the Prime Minister as well due to Ivanishvili’s attitude.

“The President met me and asked me to resign. I took the request into account,” Machavariani stated, adding that he was certainly “disliked” by those in office. Machavariani stressed that much has been done during his being by the President’s side as an advisor in the foreign policy field.

Commenting on his resignation, Abashidze also stated that the decision was “agreed to” by the President, refraining from giving more details. The President has not made any comments until now regarding the issue.

Georgian Dream member Giorgi Volski thinks that the fact is related to the usual reshuffle, and there is nothing “scandalous” in the news. However, he thinks that additional explanations are required over the significant reshuffle.

United National Movement member Giga Bokeria claims that Bidzina Ivanishvili is still ruling the country, and the staff turnover is directly linked to his personal decision.

Responding to the speculation, Bidzina Ivanishvili stated that he had nothing to do with the reshuffle. According to him, he just expressed his view several months ago.

“I am not against someone, I just stated that Machavariani’s being on the post as a new President’s face was a bit awkward…I do not want someone to stick the change to me,” Ivanishvili stated.

Analyst Khatuna Lagazidze believes that if the president was forced to make the decision, such a scenario will not bring anything positive to the democratic development of the country.