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Georgia’s Saakashvili Refuses to Leave Presidential Palace

RIA Novosti

08:01 04/11/2012 MOSCOW, November 4 (RIA Novosti) - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has refused to fulfill the request by Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili to leave the presidential palace.

“The presidential palace is a presidential palace and not Mr. Saakashvili’s private property," Saakashvili’s spokeswoman Manana Mandzhgaladze said.

"This building is intended for the president’s work,” she told journalists on Friday.

Ivanishvili earlier on Friday proposed that Saakashvili move from the presidential palace the premier said was too expensive to maintain to the cheaper-to-maintain State Chancellery building where the government holds its meetings.

The new Georgian premier also said it was a heavy load on the country’s budget to maintain two presidential planes, adding that the monthly maintenance expenses amounted to about 800,000 lari ($484,000), which he said was unacceptable in a country where there are so many poor people.

The Georgian parliament on October 25 approved the new cabinet led by Ivanishvili, leader of the Georgian Dream coalition that won the country's October 1 parliamentary elections.

Georgian Dream won 85 out of 150 seats in parliament. President Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) will have 65 seats.

The majority of the president's executive powers will be transferred to the new prime minister under constitutional reforms that take effect in January 2013.



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