Statement by Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili Print Version

First and foremost, I would like to denounce unconditionally and unequivocally the incidents of violence that broke out yesterday on the territory adjacent to the Public Library. Popular protest, as a right guaranteed by the constitution, must be expressed only in a non-violent manner and in compliance with the law. I authorized the Interior Ministry to carry out lawful measures with a view to identifying and punishing the participants and instigators of this violence. Analysis of the actions by the police is also underway, so that methods to be used in such situations may be improved.

It would have been better if the President of Georgia took into consideration the offer by the ruling majority to give his annual speech in the building of the Parliament of Georgia a couple of weeks later. Nonetheless, I would like to point out that I noticed a few noteworthy details in the presidential speech. Had he made some of these statements earlier, we would have avoided some complications. Namely, the president apologized to the Georgian people for the mistakes he and his government had made throughout the years. The president also admitted that the people rightfully stripped them off their power as a result of the parliamentary election last year and that reclaiming citizens' trust would require, first of all, analyzing problems in the past and learning lessons.

It is time for him now to practice what he preaches, so that these and other words of his may be trusted. The president stated that his political team is ready to support constitutional amendments, by authority of which it will be impossible to appoint a new government without the parliament's participation. Accordingly, we anticipate the parliamentary minority to confirm this statement, shortly after which the parliament will vote on this draft law.

The president discussed other constitutional issues as well, which are not related to the draft law in discussion and on which his opinion differs with ours. After the adoption of the draft law mentioned above, we will be ready to hear his opinion with due diligence and coordinate our positions in the process of deliberations on relevant draft laws with the participation of international and Georgian experts.

Before making decision on any issue at the constitutional level, it would be advisable to finalize the execution of the cross-faction agreement on the foreign policy priorities of the country in the parliament. Achieving broad political consensus on the document initiated by the parliamentary majority would support the government's attempts to expedite European and Euro-Atlantic integration, ensure the irreversibility of the policy of non-recognition of the occupied territories, and launch the revival of relations with Russia in terms of trade, economy, and culture.

I would like to state once again that I am willing to maintain relations with the president and his political team in full compliance with the constitution and the principles of the rule of law. No power to pardon violent offenses has been vested in me. As to all other issues, I am ready to make reasonable concessions for the sake of the wellbeing of our homeland.

Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili