TBILISI, November 4 (RIA Novosti) – Georgia’s president-elect said he would not move to the luxury palace currently occupied by his predecessor and would choose a more modest residence after taking office, News Georgia reported on Monday.
"During the electoral campaign, I have repeatedly expressed my disagreement with the size and cost of the presidential residence and said that the money spent on its construction should be returned to the people,” said Giorgi Margvelashvili, who won the latest presidential elections in Georgia in the first round.
The glass-domed palace, built by outgoing President Mikheil Saakashvili after taking office, will house a planned Georgian-American university instead. The university is due to open next year.
The presidential administration will instead move to a building that previously housed the US Embassy and is now being renovated. Before the renovation is over, the president will reside in the State Chancellery, which also houses the prime minister’s office.
Saakashvili launched the construction of the presidential palace in 2004 and the building was completed five years later. Although the outgoing president said the project’s cost was $7.8 million, the opposition said the true costs were many times higher and probably amounted to dozens of millions of US dollars.
The building is topped with a dome, made up of 12 bullet-resistant glass panels produced in Germany. The price of each panel is estimated at $56,000.