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Two Presidential residences

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, September 18
The new residence of the president is being constructed on Atoneli Street. The residence is estimated to cost millions and will be deducted out of the state budget. However, the president is not going to leave the Presidential Palace in Avlabari. Several days ago, Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili told Maestro TV that the president promised that he would move to the new location when it is completed, but the president’s administration reiterated that the president does not intend to change his current place.

The construction of the building on 25 Atoneli St., where was launched under the previous government and was thought to be the prime minister’s residence. However, owing to the changes in politics, the previous plans were changed. As 15 million GEL had already been spent on the building, the construction process was continued under the Georgian Dream government. According to the former Minister of Infrastructure Davit Narmania, up to 26 million GEL was targeted for the building. Currently, the Ministry of Infrastructure has refrained from voicing the precise financial figures for the building, stating that the information is confidential.

The Georgian Dream team was sure that Margvelashvili would take residence on Atoneli Street. However, Margvelashvili changed his negative attitude over the President’s Palace in Avlabari after being elected. As a result, he received strong criticism from the founder of the coalition Bidzina Ivanishvili. Even in his recent interview with Kviris Palitra, Ivanishvili once again touched upon the issue and stressed that the president living in the palace costs the stat budget 2-3 million GEL more than it would otherwise.

Commenting on the issue, State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Alexi Petriashvili, said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should have been located in the presidential residence in Avlabari.

Petriashvili believes President Margvelashvili should move to the building on Atoneli Street. According to him, the country cannot afford the costs of holding receptions in various agencies.

"Some may say I am biased, but everybody knows that from the very beginning, even when I was in the opposition, I had been in support of moving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the residence. In addition, our country cannot afford the costs associated with holding receptions in various agencies. It was possible for the building to serve everyone – both the prime minister and other agencies during the visits of high-level delegations. It might have served large receptions. This was my position,” he said on Imedi TV.