It’s already been decided and there is no need to speculate further about who from Georgia will sign the Association Agreement with the EU on June 27 in Brussels, PM Irakli Garibashvili said on May 23.
“The Prime Minister will sign it – that is me,” he told journalists on May 23.
The issue of who should put his name on the treaty – President Giorgi Margvelashvili or PM Garibashvili, has been a topic of discussion in the Georgian media recently, especially in the context of ongoing speculation about the President and the PM being at odds with each other.
Some government members said last week that the PM would sign the Association Agreement, but on May 20 President Giorgi Margvelashvili weighed in publicly and said “it would be appropriate” if he, as head of the state, puts his name to the treaty. He, however, also said that he would not dispute if the PM signs it. Margvelashvili also suggested that he wanted consultations on this issue with the government. And on May 22 president’s foreign policy advisor, Vano Matchavariani, told Maestro TV that the president should sign the agreement and it should be decided through consultations between the PM and the President.
When asked on May 23 if the government consulted with the President while taking final decision, PM Garibashvili responded: “No; the government, the team discussed it; I am also the leader of [ruling Georgian Dream] coalition and we discussed it within our team and decided that the Prime Minister will sign [the agreement].”
Earlier on Friday, government’s parliamentary secretary, Shalva Tadumadze, told journalists that it was decided that the Prime Minister would sign the agreement because of “legal and practical” issues.
Under the constitution the President represents the country in foreign relations; the President has the right to negotiate and sign international agreements only under the consent of the government.
“The government considers impossible from legal and practical points of view to give its consent to the President to sign the agreement, because the commitments undertaken in frames of the [Association] Agreement are to be fulfilled by the government and under the government’s responsibility,” Tadumadze told reporters on Friday.
Chief of president’s administration, Lasha Abashidze, said on Friday evening that the President believes the agreement should be signed by him, but reiterated Margvelashvili position that he’s not going to dispute in anyway government’s decision.