Salome Zourabichvili as Independent Candidate
30 May, 2013
Salome Zourabichvili as Independent Candidate
Exclusive Interview with Ex-Minister of Georgia

Salome Zourabichvili, who intends to finalize her decision to present her candidacy for the presidential elections in October of 2013, talked to Georgian Journal and declared that she is “thinking about her candidacy for the next presidential election as an independent candidate”. At the same time, she denied rumors about establishing new political party. “I founded one political Party “the Way of Georgia” in 2006, which has kept its line and orientation over these
very difficult years and which now continues without me. I have said about the President’s role that he/she should not be identified with one given Party, and should not represent a single Party. I am no longer the leader of my Party, where I have only an honorary title, but would not think about joining another one or creating a nes one. I do not believe in politicians changing parties as they change shirts, which has been a bad habit for some people in Georgian politics.”
Q. What can you say about your candidacy for presidential elections?
A. At this stage, when the dates for the next presidential election are not yet set, it is too early to register such a decision formally. It will depend on many factors, first of which is the reaction of population not to me personally, but to my conception of what a President should be. At this stage my candidature is a statement and a message. A statement that one cannot, especially in the country that has gone though decades of Communism and 20 years of post-Soviet neo-totalitarian rule, present the presidential election as a “fait accompli” and deny the voters the right to choose, the right to elect, which is at the core of democracy. I also believe that the voters should not choose only between the outgoing national movement and the new Majority. I think time has come to overcome this kind of division and offer more pluralistic choices to Georgian population. In the new constitution, the President is not a political ruler, he should represent the nation and the people and be a force of balance and stability.
Q. What is your main motivation?
A. My main motivation is to see that Georgia finally enters the new phase of its political development and realizes that the institution of Presidency, deformed and corrupted by Saakashvili’s one-man-one-party rule, is something different. A President should not be an additional division in a country that has witnessed too many disasters. He or she should represent all Georgians, of all origins and faith, should reunite Georgians from the ones who live in foreign Diasporas and the ones, who live in the country. This motivation was reinforced by the events of 17 May. I consider that Georgian values weres and will be based on the concept of tolerance and pluralism if Georgia wants to be true to its identity. That is the lesson of Georgian History. That is why Georgia is the only country, which, according to the Jews does not have to repent or say “never again” because discrimination never happened in this country. I think that recent events, similar to what is happening in other European countries, deserve attention and caution so that Georgia does not lose its identity, its essential values while erroneously thinking that it is defending them.
Q. Did negotiations with Bidzina Ivanishvili provoke your decision or it was your personal decision?
A.I did not have negotiations as such with the Prime Minister. We had a series of meetings to discuss the principle of my participation in Georgian politics and building of the state. We never discussed concrete propositions, but exchanged many ideas and possibilities. I have never been a member of the new Coalition, but have always supported it as the ultimate opposition to Saakashvili. You will remember that I was one of the leaders of the opposition in the previous years and I declared my full support to Ivanishvili since his appearance on political arena. I am still supporting him and his majority, while being critical in a constructive way when I see things that could be more effective. I do not believe that one political force, despite the support it is getting from the population, should concentrate all powers in one place. Balance is essential to preserve democracy. It is because the Saakashvili regime obstructed opment and realizes that the institution of Presidency, deformed and corrupted by Saakashvili’s one-man-one-party rule, is something different. A President should not be an additional division in a country that has witnessed too many disasters. He or she should represent all Georgians, of all origins and faith, should reunite Georgians from the ones who live in foreign Diasporas and the ones, who live in the country. This motivation was reinforced by the events of 17 May. I consider that Georgian values weres and will be based on the concept of tolerance and pluralism if Georgia wants to be true to its identity. That is the lesson of Georgian History. That is why Georgia is the only country, which, according to the Jews does not have to repent or say “never again” because discrimination never happened in this country. I think that recent events, similar to what is happening in other European countries, deserve attention and caution so that Georgia does not lose its identity, its essential values while erroneously thinking that it is defending them.
Q. Did negotiations with Bidzina Ivanishvili provoke your decision or it was your personal decision?
A.I did not have negotiations as such with the Prime Minister. We had a series of meetings to discuss the principle of my participation in Georgian politics and building of the state. We never discussed concrete propositions, but exchanged many ideas and possibilities. I have never been a member of the new Coalition, but have always supported it as the ultimate opposition to Saakashvili. You will remember that I was one of the leaders of the opposition in the previous years and I declared my full support to Ivanishvili since his appearance on political arena. I am still supporting him and his majority, while being critical in a constructive way when I see things that could be more effective. I do not believe that one political force, despite the support it is getting from the population, should concentrate all powers in one place. Balance is essential to preserve democracy. It is because the Saakashvili regime obstructed this balance to be established as early as the local elections in 2006, which resulted in a full-fledged authoritarian regime. The Presidential election is the test where the balance, the emergence of alternative independent forces should be allowed so that various voices of public can find their expression.
Q. How do you estimate your chances at the presidential elections?
A. It is very difficult to estimate anything since I do not know about any serious opinion poll and it is too early for that. I have received a lot of support through social networks, but I know that this is not enought. I am also very candid about the fact that if I go all the way, I will be competing with the candidates from the ruling Party, from the National Movement and eventually, others as well; they will have much more resources - both financial and administrative - than I have. I still hope that this could be a chance to hold really free and competitive elections, to prove that the National Movement does not represent 40 % of population, who support it, as it claims; to demonstrate that European values have a strong support in the Country notwithstanding the decline of UNM. More important than my personal chances in these elections, are the chances for this country to make use of these elections to the progress on the way to real Democracy and consolidation of its institutions.
Q. What can you say about the presidential candidates?
A. I will not talk personally about any of them. In respect of political appreciation, the candidate of “Georgian Dream”, according to his own self-characterization, is only «the candidate of the Georgian Dream” and he has declared that he considers that this is enough to win. I dare to disagree with that assumption and think that in order to win, in a democratic country, one has to win the hearts and souls of the electorate. That is a big difference. As to the other candidates, including the UNM’s candidate (whose chances are extremely limited if other candidates are allowed to play), I think that my political orientation, as a definitely pro European and pro Georgian leader, puts us on different starting grounds. I consider that one has to talk with Russians and I did talk to them with some past success in that regard when we finalized the withdrawal of the Russian troops from their bases. But I think that the context and format of any likely negotiation should be arranged at right time and place. Georgia does not have to choose between talking to Russia and following its European path; it has to do both on its own terms.
Print
Other Stories
President Zourabichvili Calling on the International Community to React to Tskhinvali Situation
The President has called on the international community to react to the dire human rights situation in the Tskhinvali region
Georgian Leaders Express Concern Over Russia-backed attack in Eastern Ukraine
On February 18, Ukrainian Ambassador to the European Union Mykola Tochytskyi has informed the EU about the new Russian attack in Donbas
Former President Margvelashvili Returning to Politics
Former President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili says he is returning to active politics
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper thanks Georgia for many contributions to global security
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has responded to the meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia at the 56th Munich Security Conference on Twitter.
Shadow Boss- Bloomberg about Ivanishvili
Earlier this month the law firm of Hogan Lovells signed a $ 75, 000 a month contract to represent the Georgian Dream party which Ivanishvili founded in 2012 and runs to this day.
Putin attempts to restore Moscow's power over the former Soviet republics - The Washington Post
VLADIMIR PUTIN has spent much of his two decades in power attempting to restore Moscow’s rule over former republics of the Soviet Union.
Statement by Leading MEPs on Gigi Ugulava's Case
The ruling of the Supreme Court in the case of Mr. Ugulava raises questions regarding the procedure, timing and motivation of the decision, MEPs said in a joint statement.
President Meets Ambassadors
The President reiterates her full readiness to get engaged in political dialogue and reconciliation processes
Embassies and Politicians commenting on Gigi Ugulava's Arrest
Several foreign politicians have expressed their concern about the arrest of the Leader of European Georgia opposition and ex-Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava
The U.S providing $170 million for military aid to Europe and Eurasia
The US budget for 2021 provides $ 170 million for military aid to Europe and Eurasia, including Georgia.
Middle East Institute about Black Sea Region Importance
Middle East Institute- the oldest Washington based institution dedicated solely to the study of the Middle East publishes an article, writing that the Black Sea should be a US and NATO priority.
Georgian Opposition Leader Gigi Ugulava Sentenced for 3 years
Georgian Supreme Court sentenced the Leader of European Georgia opposition party and ex-Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava for three years and two months in prison
Exclusive interview with Markéta Gregorová
The Minister of Reconciliation and Civic Equality of Georgia, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili and the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Kakhaber Kuchava presented reports in the European Parliament,
Congressmen's comments after meeting with Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze
Georgian Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze, who is visiting the United States, holds meetings with Congressmen.
Svante Cornell compares Russia-Georgia relations to divorce
Russia's relationship with Georgia reminds me of a man who starts beating his lover after the latter abandons him, - said Svante Cornell, Director of the Institute for Central Asia-Caucasus, in an interview with the Georgian service of Voice of America.
David Zalkaniani about severe conditions in occupied regions at the meeting in Washington
The minister of Foreign Affairs, David Zalkaliani, talked about the severe conditions in the occupied regions at the meeting in Washington.
"The primary appeal of Khazaradze is not the man himself, but what he represents."- FP
The global magazine for news and ideas FP publishes an article talking about Georgia's upcoming parliamentary elections, which have to be held by October.
Civil activists, opposition parties rally outside Parliament
A protest rally, organized by civil activists and opposition parties, is underway outside the Parliament’s building in Tbilisi.
"Ivanishvili getting a free ride and pulling strings from behind"- Bloomberg
Bloomberg Media Company publishes a report expressing his grave concerns about the accelerating slide into authoritarianism of the Republic of Georgia
We received assurances that the situation would be changed in Georgia, Senator Jim Risch says
U.S. Senators Jim Risch, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said they received guarantees from Davit Zalkaliani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, that the “situation would be changed in Georgia”.
U.S.-Georgian Relationship outlook in 2020
American Research Organization “The Heritage Foundation” published a report outlining the priorities of the U.S Georgian Relationship in 2020.
America in need of reliable allies like Georgia, The Hill
American website The Hill publishes an article where it speaks about America being in need of reliable allies that make significant contributions to regional security and that Georgia is one such important ally
Russians keep on murdering, says Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Honcharenko in PACE
The issue of suspending the authority and powers for the Russian delegation was discussed at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on January 29.
US senators Jim Risch, Jeanne Shaheen send letter to Georgia’s PM
Two U.S. senators have expressed concerns in a letter to Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia over recent events that indicate “a backsliding” on the Caucasus country’s commitment to build the institutions of democracy.
US Ambassador Kelly Degnan arrives in Georgia
US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan has arrived in Georgia.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
19.02.2020
20.02.2020
USD
1
USD
2.8631
2.8422
EUR
1
EUR
3.1010
3.0701
GBP
1
GBP
3.7321
3.6914
RUB
100
RUB
4.4902
4.4678
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.8631
EUR
1
EUR
3.1010
GBP
1
GBP
3.7321
RUB
100
RUB
4.4902
February 2020
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29