Georgia’s President annuls ex-president Saakashvili’s Georgian citizenship

  • Georgia’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili received Ukrainian citizenship earlier this year., 13 Nov 2015 - 17:57, Tbilisi,Georgia

The process has begun to revoke the country’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili of his Georgian citizenship.

Georgia’s current President Giorgi Margvelahsvili announced he would annul Saakashvili’s Georgian citizenship, as he had received Ukrainian citizenship, and it was against the law to hold dual citizenship unless in special circumstances.

A statement announcing the withdraw of Saakashvili’s Georgian citizenship was made today by the President’s Parliamentary Secretary Giorgi Kverenchkhiladze, who explained the Georgian Constitution prohibited a person from having dual citizenship except in extraordinary situations. 

Based on the Georgian Constitution if a Georgian citizen gains citizenship of any other country, he/she is automatically revoked of his/her Georgian citizenship. 
In this situation, as Saakashvili received citizenship of some other country, the President will behave as he behaves in any such situation and the former president will lose his Georgian citizenship,” Kverenchkhiladze said. 

Georgian legislation stated the President could allow a person to hold dual citizenship if he/she left the country and lost their Georgian citizenship because of the Constitutional norm. Similarly, if a foreigner came to Georgia and applied for citizenship, in special cases only, the President might allow them to retain their home citizenship while being granted Georgian citizenship also. 

Only the President has the right to grant dual citizenship in Georgia. Photo by the President's webpage. 

However in special situations, a person may address the President and provide a worthy reason and supporting documents as to why they should have dual citizenship. In these cases the President will decide to grant or deny the person dual citizenship. 

On this same note, on October 30 Georgia’s Ministry of Justice said it had launched procedures to revoke Saakashvili of his Georgian citizenship citing the same Constitutional rule.

The Ministry has already sent relevant documentation to Ukraine, where Saakashvili now served as Odessa Governor. 

Saakashvili left Georgia when his presidential term expired in 2013. He moved to Ukraine and decided to continue his political career there. Initially Saakashvili said he would not give up his Georgian citizenship in any instance.

On May 30, 2015 Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili as head of Odessa region in southwestern Ukraine. One day earlier Ukrainian media reported Poroshenko had granted Saakashvili Ukrainian citizenship on May 29.

The ex-President is wanted by Georgia's law-enforcement bodies for several charges.