Ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili slammed President Giorgi Margvelashvili for viewing the government as his “competitor” and said that some of the President’s recent actions suggest Margvelashvili is “obstructing” government’s activities.
Ivanishvili’s new criticism of Margvelashvili comes in the midst of dispute between the President and the government over visit to the UN headquarters in New York later this month.
“Conflict between the President and the PM plays very much into the hands of [opposition party United] National Movement,” Ivanishvili said in an interview with Kviris Palitra newspaper, extracts of which were released by Palitra media holding early on September 11.
“Is it nice if two separate delegations [one of the President and another one led by the PM] from small, poor country go to the United States?,” Ivanishvili said referring to the dispute over the UN visit.
“But this man [Margvelashvili] does not care about it at all and continues competition, which he thinks is a healthy competition,” the former Prime Minister said.
Ivanishvili said that few days after Margvelashvili was sworn-in as the president in November, “one of the topics of polemic” between them was “Margvelashvili’s stance that he should be in competition with the government and the Parliament.”
“We spent much time arguing on this issue on number of occasions. It was incomprehensible for me,” Ivanishvili said. “I was telling him that his position was not right, I was telling him that you all came [into power] as one team, the entire Georgian Dream team was helping you, supporting you during the [presidential] election [campaign] and this [competition] now would be incorrect and would damage [everyone]; your competitors are unemployment, territorial integrity, foreign policy issues and many other problems; you should work together and there should be no competition. He [Margvelashvili] failed to justify his position; I remained on my position and he [Margvelashvili] did not change his position either.”
Like in March, when he first publicly criticized the President, Ivanishvili again complained about Margvelashvili’s decision to use a glass-dome presidential palace in Avlabari, built during Saakashvili’s presidency. Ivanishvili said that Margvelashvili moved into the presidential palace “although knowing negative stance” of ruling GD coalition about it. He also recalled that earlier this year Margvelashvili was considering vetoing a bill “not even having it read.”
Ivanishvili also criticized the President for what he called delaying to declassify some of the documents requested by the prosecutor’s office in its case against ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili.
“Is not it easy to see that in all these actions the President views [the government] as a competitor, whom he wants – I do not want to use word ‘to fight’ – to obstruct. This is obstruction, but in the end it is the country, which is being obstructed and President Margvelashvili should realize it,” Ivanishvili said.
In the same interview Ivanishvili said that “in general the government is efficient, and especially the Prime Minister” Irakli Garibashvili.