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Georgian Billionaire to Look at State Expenditures

Published: October 8, 2012 | 3:04 pm
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Ivanishvili Says Budget is the Primary Focus

The COMMERCIAL TIMES

Silence is golden…and yes, this has worked for Bidzina Ivanishvili. Georgian tycoon has gained big fortune outside Georgia, more concretely in Russia. Philanthropist Ivanishvili has been actively financing his own birth village Chorvila (in Sachkhere) and also has contributed much money to the development of different sectors in the entire country, and all that he has managed with zero promotion of own personal image…until the very last moment when a year ago the billionaire made a decision to enter Georgian politics. This ambition has cost him a lot: promotional campaign, fines and penalties imposed on the businesses owned by him in Georgia (unfair as he objects), etc. Ivanishvili has sold all his assets in Russia, trying to prove his independency from Kremlin. Today, GD Leader, the man listed with USD 6.4 billion (one half of Georgia’s $11.7 billion annual GDP) on the Forbes Billionaires, has taken over the top responsible job ever!

Now, as the leader of the already majority party, Ivanishvili, potential future Prime Minister of Georgia, says is ready to manage the country’s budget and provide his own capital in a legal way in order to settle financial issues. The leader of the Georgian Dream coalition (GD), says the first task to be focused on will be the State Budget. “State budget will be the primary issue to focus on,” Ivanishvili said during an interview given to the Eka Eridze’s Main Question aired on TV9 on October 1. “Georgia’s budget looks very poor. However, I believe we can manage to draw the best of the worst and keep all the promoses we’ve goven to our people during the pre-election period,” said the leader of the Georgian Dream Coalition. Ivanishvili noted that he’s ready to work with the United National Movement (UNM), the “opposition already” as he called the competitor.

A parliamentary election was held on October, 1. It was the 7th legislative election held since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. According to the results announced on by the Georgian Central Election Commission (CEC), GD won the October 1 Parliamentary elections with. GD winning was shortly followed by the announcement by the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili that UNM admitted to become an opposition party in the country’s legislative body.

With the government and opposition changing positions, the political situation in the country has become a bit weird as the leader of now oppositional UNM remains to be the President.

Ivanishvili says building Lazika is more of a joke story. “I don’t see the necessity to build Lazika. Where is the money to construct it? It’s a joke made up by Saakashvili,” declared Ivanishili during his meeting with media representatives on October 2.

Lazika has been a future planned city in Georgia, on the country’s Black Sea littoral. It was said to be located south to Anaklia—a sea resort immediately south to breakaway Abkhazia—and north to Kulevi, a port north to Poti, Georgia’s key Black Sea port city.

An intent to construct a new large settlement, with the potential to make the city into the country’s second largest—after the capital of Tbilisi—and a major economic center of western Georgia, was unveiled by President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili on December 4, 2011. The name Lazika is a reference to the Greco-Roman designation of this region, a part of ancient Colchis. According to Saakashvili, the government of Georgia had been in talks with several large investment groups in Asia and Europe. politicians and commentators have been skeptical of the project. Critics have also pointed out to the potential harm to the flora and fauna of the Kolkheti National Park, which lies adjacent to the area. The NDI-sponsored public opinion polls in 2012 showed support for the construction of the city.

Lazika was intended to have a special legal status, with the English law model for commercial transactions instead of a codified civil law established in Georgia. To this end, the Parliament of Georgia passed, on June 29, 2012, a constitutional amendment that would allow the lawmakers to adopt a law concerning the future status of Lazika.

Georgian authorities planned to invest GEL 200 million ($120 million) in construction of the future city of Lazika.

The election was held according to a reformed electoral system agreed upon by the incumbent and several opposition parties in 2011. 77 of the 150 seats are allocated proportionally to party lists, the remaining 73 to the winners in single-member constituencies. The new parliament will be relocated from the capital of Tbilisi to the country’s second largest city of Kutaisi later in 2012. A new government will also be formed following the scheduled 2013 presidential election as envisaged by the 2010 constitutional amendments. South Ossetia and Abkhazia did not vote.

GD leased also spoke about the Parliament building and said that initially the Kutaisi premises will be used as the one in Tbilisi is already destroyed inside.

As Mike Haemmerli, Senior VP Development of Kempinski Hotels S.A., told CT last month they were in preliminary discussions with the intended investors to manage part of the Georgia’s former Parliament building.

Future Prime Minister Candidate Bidzina Ivanishvili said he will announce the new government candidates on Monday, October 8. UNM declares they’re giving carte-blanche to GD. So, everyone sound to be free in their will to lead the country in the direction they think is right for Georgia.

It’s both up to the new government and the opposition to agree where Georgia is going; otherwise we’ll be stuck in the Swan, the Crab, and the Jack-Fish scenario.

 

 

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