Parliamentary Chairman Davit Bakradze said that “several investment groups” had expressed interest in buying it. Bakradze said on July 19, that there were both “foreign and Georgian investment groups” among those interested in purchasing the Parliament building, but he did not elaborate details, adding that the ministry of economy was in charge of negotiating with potential investors. Some employees of the Parliament said the staff had been ordered to remove their belongings from their offices ahead of the expected move of the parliament to its new location, several hundred miles away in the Georgian town of Kutaisi.
Parliament is currently in its summer recess but an extraordinary session is expected in the next days to consider planned budgetary amendments to allocate funds for relief efforts following strong wind and hail in Kakheti and some other regions of the country. Bakradze said that the relocation process would not hinder the holding of an extraordinary parliamentary session.
The building of the Georgian Parliament in Tbilisi is associated with many important moments of recent Georgian history, including the 9 April 1989 events when peaceful protestors were killed by Soviet Ministry of Interior troops triggering a wave of anti-Russian feeling in Georgia. The building was also at the centre of the civil war that saw the ousting of Zviad Gamsakhurdia as president of Georgia in 1992. It was the central point during the Rose Revolution in 2003 that brought Mikhail Saakashvili to power as president of Georgia, and has since been at the centre of antigovernment protests in the Georgian capital.
Georgians have mixed feelings about the building, some seeing it as a symbol of all that is wrong with their political system. But for a while in the 1990s the building became the symbol of democratic hope throughout the post Soviet space, when, under the chairmanship of Zurab Zhvania, the Georgian Parliament became the most dynamic and pluralistic legislature in the region. The new Georgian parliament in Kutaisi is already open for visitors. A notice on the website of the parliament says that free tours of the new building are now available.