President Giorgi Margvelashvili signed a decree on December 4 terminating Georgian citizenship of his predecessor Mikheil Saakashvili, who is now governor of Odessa region in Ukraine.
President’s office said that citizenship of Saakashvili and several other Georgian nationals were terminated with the December 4 decree because they became citizens of foreign countries.
According to Georgian legislation, a Georgian national loses Georgian citizenship after acquiring citizenship of a foreign country.
Saakashvili was granted Ukrainian citizenship in late May, when Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko appointed him as governor of Odessa.
The Georgian Justice Ministry said in late October that it launched proceedings for termination of Saakashvili’s Georgian citizenship after receiving an official confirmation from Ukraine that Georgia’s ex-president was granted Ukrainian citizenship.
Justice Minister, Tea Tskulukiani, said on December 3 that as a standard procedure the ministry notified in a written form Saakashvili about facing losing Georgian citizenship on November 3.
“He [Saakashvili] did not reply,” Tskulukiani said, adding that after expiration of one-month period, the Justice Ministry sent on December 3 a “conclusion” to President Giorgi Margvelashvili, recommending termination of Saakashvili’s citizenship.
Although the Georgian constitution bans dual citizenship, it also allows the President to grant Georgian citizenship to a foreign national “who has a special merit before Georgia” or if granting of Georgian citizenship to a foreign national is in “state interests.” A foreign national has to apply for citizenship to the Georgian President.
Saakashvili, who is wanted on multiple criminal charges in Georgia which he denies as politically motivated, is a chairman of formerly ruling and now opposition party in Georgia, United National Movement (UNM). Georgia’s law on political parties says that only a Georgian citizen has the right “to establish and participate in activities of a political party.”