On Paying for a President


October will see us Georgians standing in the iconic poll-box wondering who to choose for President. A crucial moment, you might think, but no, not really. It will, in fact, be a waste of time because who really needs a president with such governing impotence as the position now boasts? This election is going to be the last straight-vote presidential election in Georgia. The next will be the choice of Parliament.

The position of President is so squeezed in this country that s/he exists purely for constitutional reasons, not functional. Let us at least have him or her functionally restricted to a reasonable point both inside and outside the country, not stuck somewhere in the middle. Either the President is a working figure or totally out of any business that this nation is into. The British Sovereign also holds a ceremonial position, but the kings and queens of Albion at least use that for a budgetary advantage thanks to the tourism the monarchy generates. Could we imagine for a second that Georgia’s President has an ability to boost sightseeing in the country? This is one of the disadvantages of the Parliamentary Republic which Georgia is called today. We are sometimes mentioned as a Semi-Parliamentary Republic, which is even harder to understand, and years pass as we try to organize Georgia into a real state, subject to a trade-off between the top geopolitical decision-makers of the world.

Not alluding to any specific personality, the powerless Georgian President, as ineffective as s/he actually is, has enough budget, time and authority to travel around the world at the expense of the State, having no realistic force or way to promote the Georgian cause or move the country forward. Inside the country, the President’s position is even weaker. Meanwhile, the Georgian taxpayer has to support the governmental position, paying out for an irrelevant election, a luxurious presidential residence, idle staff, futile travel expenses and untargeted overhead. Doesn’t this sound preposterous? And there is no way out because the Constitution that maintains the current presidential status has already been written, rewritten and approved. The preference in the document is given to a Parliamentary Republic, which holds the Prime Minister responsible for the Republic’s good and bad, not the President, and the President continues enjoying life with a light heart and an unburdened back at the expense of our toil.

But the oil is already in the fire and whether we want it or not, we have to take the heat. We will soon have a new President who will continue working as an additional and not very much wanted branch of government, and we the governed will continue living, working and politicking in the same old way.

By Nugzar B. Ruhadze

09 August 2018 19:13