Leader of Georgian Dream opposition coalition, Bidzina Ivanishvili, said he would not make use of “an absurd” constitutional amendment, allowing him to vote and be elected in elections without having a Georgian citizenship, and called on President Saakashvili not to sign the amendment into law.
Parliament passed Ivanishvili-related constitutional amendment with its third and final reading on May 22.
“It is clear that you are forced to take into consideration unanimous demand of Georgian population’s absolute majority and of the international democratic community to allow me run in the elections,” Ivanishvili says in an open letter to President Saakashvili released by his press office on Tuesday evening.
“But you have failed to rectify your mistake (stripping me of my Georgian citizenship) through a civilized, legal and dignified way (that is giving me citizenship through naturalization) and now you are making even worse mistake,” Ivanishvili says. “This constitutional amendment is an action against fundamental principles of statehood and constitutionalism, unprecedented in the world. Moreover, with its legal substance and political context, it amounts to coup d'etat. The constitution is really being amended for and because of a single person and this single person is you, not me.”
“My [Georgian] citizenship has fallen victim to your political fears and now the Georgian state’s foundation and prestige is being victimized to your childish whims and propaganda tricks.”
“I am not going to gain my political rights at the expense of insulting the constitution and destroying the state. Me and my team need the political rights for building the state and constitutional order not for the purposes opposite of that.”
“For that reason, I call on you not to sign the constitutional amendments into law. By doing so you will save the prestige of our country and its constitutional foundation, which is of much higher value than present or future of your, my or any other political force.”
“At the same time, I am not going to compete with you in obstinacy and I am ready to give you one more possibility to correct your mistakes – I will submit to you an application requesting dual-citizenship in such a form, which will be spelled out by your political team members and public officials,” Ivanishvili says.
Ivanishvili submitted application for citizenship through naturalization in early January. A day before deadline for responding to his application expired, the Civil Registry Agency at the Justice Minister said on April 4, that the application was rejected, citing that as a French citizen Ivanishvili should have applied for dual citizenship instead of trying to gain the Georgian passport through naturalization. At the time Ivanishvili refused to apply dual-citizenship process and later his lawyers appealed against the Civil Registry Agency’s decision to the court.
“If you do not take into consideration my advice and do not veto the constitutional amendment, I will not become part of anti-state actions; will not make use of these constitutional amendments and will not participate in the parliamentary elections,” Ivanishvili says in his open letter, adding that he “will continue active public and political activities within the limits set by the Georgian constitution for foreign citizens living in Georgia.”
“I will use all the constitutional means for the victory of political coalition Georgian Dream and I will anyway keep all of my promises given to the Georgian people,” Ivanishvili says.
President Saakashvili said on May 20, that with this constitutional amendment the Georgian authorities have "undermined plot to de-legitimize" the October parliamentary elections.
"I think, what the enemies of the Georgian democracy want is Georgia to... look like the country that deprives its opposition election rights or some other things," Saakashvili said in Chicago on May 20.