It is always interesting to talk to Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili regardless of fundamental differences between us, President Mikheil Saakashvili said in a separate statement to media after a meeting with Bidzina Ivanishvili on 4 March.
“It is always pleasant to have a possibility and moreover, it is correct, no matter how difficult it may be to discuss various issues, to talk openly to each other and not via Facebook or TV. I reiterated my vision of cooperation to the Prime Minister. It would be a lie to say that I feel very comfortable in my capacity as president in the current situation. I am in quite an unusual situation. In the past few years I was used to busy daily schedule - inaugurating new facilities, constructions of schools, meeting many people. Today, my daily schedule is no longer that busy. In fact, such inactivity is a heavy burden for me. The only reason why I continue to serve as president is to maintain a democratic climate and constitutional stability in the country. The government must have a strong opposition which will have a possibility to insure the government against even those mistakes which the former government may have made,” Saakashvili told journalists, adding that this is his function as well as his responsibility.
President dismissed rumors about his intention to dissolve the government and parliament as “speculation.” He said he does not intend to dismiss any of the ministers even despite some observed violations.
“I support them regardless of whether or not I like this or that minister or whether or not I agree with the prime minister. Let the government calm down. No one is going to dismiss anyone. I do not intend to fire anyone even though there may be many violations and many misunderstandings, but I do not want anyone to say that they wanted to do good things but were prevented from that. I will only welcome and support wholeheartedly if they do good things,” President said.
Independence of courts and freedom of media are essential, Saakashvili noted. “Our interest is to maintain free courts in the country. On the one hand, the government must work and have full freedom and no one can prevent it from doing so. Talks that they cannot perform their work because they cannot arrest someone cannot be taken seriously by anyone. We need the government which is efficient and no one can prevent it from doing its job. On the other hand, Georgian citizens need courts which are independent and free from dictate. Court cannot be under my dictate because I have no lever for that any longer. Nor must it be under the dictate of the prosecutor’s office or any governmental agency. For future development of Georgia it is necessary for courts to feel that they are inviolable. We all know that there is no corruption in courts. There is a chance for courts now to finally become established as a fully-fledged institution,” declared Saakashvili.
Talking about the necessity of free press, Saakashvili said that this is a must for the democratic development of the country. “Any type of pressure on free press must be stopped. You know that there are some attempts to meddle in and a consistent campaign against the Georgian Public Broadcaster and some other media outlets. There will be two opposite poles in media and that is how it should be to enable the society to hear alternative opinions,” Saakashvili noted.
The political crisis must not aggravate, Saakashvili said, because it will ensue economic crisis which will make people poorer.
Talking about proposed constitutional amendments designed to curb president’s power to disband the government and parliament, President Saakashvili said: “I think there are no irreconcilable positions. I hope we will overcome these obstacles. This issue is much broader than just pressing a voting button in the parliament. We must take a decision through consensus, not through ultimatums.”