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Independent Presidential Candidate Is Waiting for the Parliamentary Majority’s Support “with Patience and Hope”


Lana Giorgidze

Presidential Elections are scheduled on October 28, 2018 in Georgia. Alongside other candidates, independent presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili strives for the victory in the polls. She announced about it during the briefing on August 6.

“I would like to officially announce, what you were waiting for so long time. I nominate my candidature for the presidential elections. It is my decision, over which I thought much. It did not happen in one day. You know, I was thinking about it in 2013 too but it was difficult to make final decision. You know, my son had wedding recently and soon I will have grandchildren. I already know that I will hardly execute my duties and thought over it before making decision to join the race or not. At the same time, it is not only my responsibility. I feel responsibility in front of my ancestors and all those, who declared independence 100 years ago and then could not maintain it,” Salome Zurabishvili said. 
Before making the announcement, it was reported that Salome Zurabishvili applied the Embassy of France to strip of her French citizenship. 

In accordance to the Constitution of Georgia, any citizen of Georgia who is eligible to vote may be elected as the President of Georgia if he/she is thirty-five years old, has lived in Georgia for at least five years, and has been living in Georgia for the last three years before the election.

“When being registered as a presidential candidate, if a person holds double citizenship, she/he shall have submitted application to the respective bodies with the request to strip of the citizenship; this document shall be provided to the CEC during the registration. It is absolutely enough to register the candidate,” executive director of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association Irma Pavliashvili told humanrights.ge. 

Chairwoman of the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Issues Eka Beselia made comment about the issue with media. “I cannot state anything with absolute accuracy but according to my information, she has applied to the embassy. In accordance to our Election Code, a presidential candidate shall not be citizen of foreign country when being registered as a candidate. During registration, she/he shall have already applied for being stripped of the foreign citizenship.”

Eka Beselia noted that Salome Zurabishvili is experienced politician and has the most chance to win the elections in the first round.

Two more months are left before the elections. Salome Zurabishvili is still waiting for the decision of the parliamentary majority. 

“I do not think that the Georgian Dream is hesitating for some reason. I think they are discussing this issue that is normal and natural process. Nobody hurries. I am waiting for their decision with patience and hope. Their discussion is absolutely natural. They will decide whom they will support in the elections. I do not see any problems. I will continue my campaign, will collect signatures and I do not have any doubts. I will accept all their decisions,” Zurabishvili said.

The statements of Salome Zurabishvili during her election campaign were actively discussed by the society and at some point she was criticized for them. 

“Journalists must use their brains,” the independent presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili told media representatives after they asked what was her position with regard to entering the Avlabari Palace if be elected. 

“I have already answered your question and listen it again. I have already expressed my opinion and you must use your brains and see when I said it. I said that Orbeliani Palace is absolutely suitable for me; I feel very comfortable in similar palaces. I also said I prefer to live on in my house. I will walk to the president’s palace from my home; it will be new form of presidency,” Zurabishvili said.

Executive director of the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics Nata Dzvelishvili reacted to the remark of the MP and independent presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili towards journalists. 

"There is a high public interest towards a presidential candidate, so they are obliged to respond to all the questions of journalists, regardless of whether they are irritating, unacceptable, uncomfortable, etc. Such remark is unacceptable from a person who is an acting MP. If such unethical statements towards journalists take place again, we will issue a statement," Nata Dzvelishvili told Rustavi 2.

Presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili was born in the family of Georgian immigrants Levan Zurabishvili and Zeinab Kedia in Paris on March 18, 1952. She returned to Georgia in 2004 as an Ambassador of France in Georgia. However, soon she left diplomatic corps and that time president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili offered her the position of the Foreign Minister of Georgia. Salome Zurabishvili stayed on the position from March 2004 to October 2005. 

Salome Zurabishvili returned to the Georgian politics in 2012 after the government changed in the country.

In 2013, she nominated her candidature for the presidential elections but because of double citizenship (French and Georgian), the CEC refused her to register. She continued dispute in the court but Zurabishvili lost trial against the CEC.

Later on, in 2016, Salome Zurabishvili participated in municipal elections as an independent candidate in Mtatsminda district of Tbilisi and defeated UNM candidate Nika Rurua; now she is the only independent member of the parliament. 

Nowadays, Salome Zurabishvili struggles for presidency and conducts active presidential campaign. The elections will take place on October 28, 2018. 

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