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Who is the “stubborn child?”

By Messenger Staff
Friday, September 12
The discussion over who will represent Georgia at the UN summit on September 23-27 in the United States has become a hot topic of controversy and debate. Neither the President nor the Prime Minister wished to concede any ground in this regard, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that two delegations from Georgia would damage the country’s image. Finally the president stepped back.

Indeed, the constant confrontation between state leaders over who will represent the country at various summits, meetings and events does affect the country’s image. The disputes also irritate the population. Most want the country’s leadership to focus on more significant problems that directly affect the people.

One of the most recent critical comments regarding the dispute came from the Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili, who called the president a “stubborn child” and appealed to him to openly state whether he stands with the Georgian Dream government or not.

The minister made the statement after Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze failed to persuade the president to change his mind regarding his attendance of the summit on September 10.

The whole government was unanimous that the PM and not the president should attend the summit, as the current head of state is Irakli Gharibashvili.

The root of such confrontation can be attributed to changes in the constitution and the founder of the Georgian Dream coalition Bidzina Ivanishvili. The constitution granted much power to the Prime Minister at the expense of reducing presidential powers. However, the president preserved his power in the foreign policy field. As many in Georgia recall, it was Bidzina Ivanishvili who selected Margvelashvili as a presidential candidate, but later became frustrated with him and admitted openly that he disliked him.

Commenting on the current situation, Ivanishvili told The Kviris Palitra newspaper that Margvelashvili perceives the government as his competitor and wants to overcome it.

It is not the first time Ivanishvili has criticized Margvelashvili and the latter’s response remains the same: the president refrained from making abusive, provocative comments. In fact, Margvelashvili responded to Ivanishvili with the following words: “I do not feel suppressed.”

Indeed Margvelashvili does not feel suppressed. The president’s ratings have exceeded the Prime Minister’s and Ivanishvili’s ratings. It is obvious that the confrontation works in favor of Margvelashvili and makes his image more and more popular among people.

Most analysts also believe that the confrontation damages the Georgian Dream and the country’s image more than it does Margvelashvili’s.

Thus, it is time for the government to start thinking about important issues and quit back-stabbing each other, especially when Georgia is facing very serious domestic and foreign challenges.

This is an awkward and ridiculous situation coming from a country which remains mired in dire economic conditions. It is time for us to turn away from the old stereotype pertaining to the Georgian character: “One Georgian - a chief, two Georgians - a government, three Georgians – impossible!”