Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili joins politics

Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili will not take part in the country’s parliamentary elections due to be held on Oct. 1, despite of the constitutional change which allows him to vote, his spokesperson Maia Fanjikidze said on Sunday.

Bidzina Ivanishvili is the de facto leader of the six-party opposition coalition, Georgian Dream, for the 2012 Georgian parliamentary elections.

But his Georgian nationality was stripped in October 2011 in accordance with the Georgian legislation after he had been granted the citizenship of France in March 2010, which in turn deprived him of the right to form a political party in Georgia.

According to the existing Georgian constitution, a person with dual citizenship cannot serve as Georgia’s president, prime minister, parliamentary speaker or lawmaker.

The constitutional change which allows Bidzina Ivanishvili to vote and be elected in this year’s parliamentary elections came into force after Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili had signed it in late May this year.

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