Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of opposition coalition Georgian Dream, said on May 9, that a constitutional amendment intended to allow him to vote and be elected in Georgia’s elections would not in fact apply to him because he had not lived in Georgia permanently for last ten years.
“I permanently [live] in Georgia since 2004,” he told journalists on May 9 after visiting a memorial of Unknown Soldier in park of Vake in Tbilisi, a venue where Georgian veterans of the World War II mark the Victory Day.
According to the constitutional amendment, which was passed by the Parliament on May 8 with its first hearing, a citizen of EU-member state, who was born in Georgia and “has permanently lived in Georgia for last 10 years” will have the right to vote and be elected in parliamentary elections in October and in presidential election in late 2013.
According to ruling party lawmakers, the wording “last 10 years” was included in the amendment based on their information that Ivanishvili has lived in Georgia permanently since 2001. Ruling party MPs have indicated that the amendment would be further changed before it’s passed with the second reading in such a way that would grant Ivanishvili political rights in Georgia.
“According to our information, Bidzina Ivanishvili has lived in Georgia since 2001, but if it is a problematic issue, it is good that it has been voiced timely so that not to portray himself [referring to Ivanishvili] in a position of a victim” as if he is not given political rights in Georgia, Pavle Kublashvili, a senior ruling party lawmaker, told Civil.ge on May 9.
“Bidzina Ivanishvili will not face restrictions in respect of any political right,” MP Kublashvili added.
After the Civil Registry Agency refused Ivanishvili to grant him Georgian citizenship through naturalization, a constitutional amendment was proposed by Christian-Democratic Movement and supported by the ruling party, which would allow French citizen Ivanishvili to vote and be elected in Georgia without having a Georgian citizenship.
Ivanishvili’s lawyers said on May 8, that they have appealed the Civil Registry Agency’s decision to refuse Ivanishvili in Georgian citizenship through naturalization to the court.