Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has said that if after he steps down he retains influence over the government, those who respect European values must be happy about that. He was responding to Tabula's question during a news briefing on 28 October, which he held together with Giorgi Margvelashvili, the winner in the presidential election held in Georgia on 27 October.
"Given that I have never done anything bad; have always declared and continue to declare that our strategy is [the integration into] Europe and NATO, have always respected European values and human rights, have consistently declared what my values are, if my influence [on the government] is maintained those who aspire for Europe and respect European values must be happy about that... 'That will be very good' – that's what you must say about that. It might happen again that someone deviates [from the chosen course] and something does not develop in the way which we want and which we declare to be our strategy... and if I exert influence on that, this will be very good - what is wrong with that? Who can be concerned about that? How that can damage things?" Bidzina Ivanishvili said.
"I am accused of many things – of being Russia's stooge... Now [Kakha] Bendukidze and [Giga] Bokeria say that I have some manners of oligarch and run the country from behind the scenes. But my signature was absolutely consistent... I do not provide a reason for a doubt that I will do something terrible," the prime minister said.
During the press conference, the Tabula journalist asked Giorgi Margvelashvili whether he considers it justified that Bidzina Ivanishvili makes some hints about him retaining influence over the government after he steps down and exits politics; also a hint about having a candidate for the mayor of Tbilisi. Ivanishvili responded Tabula's question first, saying that he plans to exit politics after conducting a meeting scheduled for 24 November and that until then, he remains in politics and will agree a candidate for mayor's office with his team members. As Ivanishvili said, any citizen must manage to influence the government.
"Let them [citizens] be more active, exert greater influence [on the government] and thus show better results. I will be this type of citizen too and of course, will influence [the government], even more so at a higher degree than ordinary citizens. Giorgi will not often have to receive advice from me because we have a very similar outlook and he will manage himself to do everything... This will not be a long and constant process. I will more often express my positions in public - that is how I view [this process] and Giorgi will probably pay attention to that," Ivanishvili said.
For his part, Giorgi Margvelashvili declared that it would be absolutely unacceptable to pretend that Ivanishivli's opinions will be of minor importance for him. "He is an extremely respected person for me. Last year Bidzina managed to unite us, guided us, we won [parliamentary] elections [in October 2012] while I did not really believe that that would happen in such a calm manner, he formed the government and we together turned the system around to make the authority serve people. After all that should I pretend that opinions of my friend, whom I respect very much, will be of minor importance for me? It will be of great importance. We interact normally and I have a possibility to consult him on many issues," Margvelashvili noted.