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Ivanishvili formalizing power2011-12-06 10:13
Court hearings are to start today in Tbilisi on a lawsuit filed by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili against the Georgian authorities: he demands the citizenship of the Caucasian republic back. Mikhail Saakashvili, on whose order the businessman stopped being a citizen of Georgia, has no great belief in his own victory. To save the face, the president stated that he is almost glad to have a strong opponent. "He is going to keep us fit", - the head of the state explained.
"Ivanishvili is for our good", - the head of the republic told the Georgian media. However, Saakashvili was prudent enough as to avoid explaining why this useful person should be deprived of the Georgian citizenship. Mikhail Nikolozovich seems to pursue a simple purpose: his bravado springs from the start of Bidzina Ivanishvili's proceedings against the Georgian state. Considering the oppositionist's great popularity and a steep fall of Saakashvili's rating, the president is much limited in the ways of pressing the court, so legal proceedings may as well result in a decision to restore the businessman to his civil rights.
But even otherwise, the oppositionist-billionaire will present serious danger so long as the coming elections in Georgia are carefully watched by Europe. Venice Commission of the Council of Europe has already demanded that those having no citizenship be given the right to take part in the pre-election campaign, i.e. to introduce a relevant provision in the draft Electoral Code being agreed upon in parliament.
This will narrow the Georgian authorities' range of means of suspending the oppositional businessman from taking part in the elections. If the president's team still ventures to realize such a scenario the West might rule the results of the upcoming voting illegitimate, thus automatically putting an end to Saakashvili's career. The Georgian president, who is a dab hand at self-promotion, faces an urgent necessity of minimizing political losses caused by his evident defeat. That is why he admitted Ivanishvili's "usefulness" for the ruling clan. Now, perhaps, the authorities will try to take the lead by giving the billionaire his citizenship back without waiting for the court judgment.