Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili told reporters on Tuesday, March 15 that the President of Georgia should have stayed in the country during the “tough processes” in the region in response to Salome Zourabichvili’s worldwide trips since the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine last month.
Garibashvili said after a meeting of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party’s Political Council on Tuesday, “When such tough processes are taking place in the region, and there is a large-scale war in Ukraine, every member of the Georgian Government and I believe that the President of Georgia should act as the Commander-in-Chief and stay in the country.”
The remark comes after President Zourabichvili’s address to Parliament on Monday, in which she raised the issue of “restrictions put on the President’s international activities” by the Georgian Government.
Moreover, the President was “obliged to agree” on the issue with the Government, according to the Government’s head, who also explained the main arguments and motivations behind the Government’s decision to deny Zourabichvili the status of formal visits to European states since the outbreak of the armed conflict.
According to Garibashvili, the Georgian Constitution clarifies that the Government decides whether or not to consent to the President’s planning and conduct of any foreign travel. The PM went on to say that the Georgian Constitution stipulated the foreign policy as being determined by the Parliament and implemented by the Government.
Furthermore, Garibashvili pointed out the obligation of “every citizen of Georgia, and especially high-ranking political officials,” to respect and protect the Constitution, adding the President was “mistaken” and expressing “hope” that “very soon everything will be clear and questions about the matter will also be removed”.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the ruling GD party accused President Salome Zourabichvili of violating the Constitution by travelling to several European nations without consulting the Georgian Government ahead of time, citing the ongoing war in Ukraine as an example.