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Date of presidentís annual speech confirmed

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, March 18
The date of the presidentís annual speech to parliament, where Giorgi Margvelashvili will touch upon all the recent domestic and foreign policy challenges in the country, has been confirmed. Instead of March 20, the president will give his address on March 31.

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili said he will not attend the address, saying that the country faces different political and constitutional arrangements.

Parliament Chair Davit Usupashvili described the presidentís speech as an important political event.

Prime Minister Gharibashvili also shares the vision with regard to the importance of the occasion. However, he feels that the changed political and constitutional reality of Georgia does not make him obligated to attend the speech.

ďEach leading politicianís speech is noteworthy. However, in this situation I cannot see the necessity to be present at the speech,Ē the prime minister said.

Some ministers, the vice-premier among them, have already revealed their refusals, naming the same reason voiced by the PM.

Some majority MPs also stress that the government has no obligation to participate in the event, while some other members of the majority claim that it would be more acceptable if the government changed its position.

ďFrom a results point-of-view, the occasion would be more fruitful if the majority attended it. I also support the debates in parliament, following the presidentís speech,Ē Majority MP Davit Lortkipanidze said.

The opposition Free Democrats approve the attitude and state that the attendance would be the sign of respect between different state institutions.

The opposition United National Movement continues to demand that debates are held after the speech about the contryís current economic and political challenges.

The president states that he is ready for any format, including the debates. The meeting format, whether it will be just a speech or an address with debates, has not yet been agreed upon between the parliament and the presidentís administration.