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
Parliament picket planned on November 26
Picketing is certainly not the best solution. Like what is happening in the streets is not good,
How to deal with Russia’s Hybrid Warfare?
How to deal with Russia’s Hybrid Warfare?
Riot police started to disperse protesters near the Georgian Parliament
Riot police appeared on Chitadze Street in the vicinity of the Government’s Administration building. They were brought by yellow buses there.
Georgian parliament picketed, demonstrations still going on
Building of the Georgian parliament is picketed, every entrance is blocked by the protesters and MPs cannot enter the building.
Disappointment over failure about constitutional amendment in the US, PACE
The Parliament has rejected the bill on constitutional amendments relating to the electoral system yesterday.
Georgian Parliament did not support transition to the proportional electoral system
The Parliament has rejected the bill on constitutional amendments relating to the electoral system in the first reading.
Interview with the US Charge d'Affairs Elizabeth Rood
Ministry of Defence of Georgia hosts the 13th annual Georgia Defence and Security Conference (GDSC) 2019 in Batumi, Hotel Hilton.
Adam Kinzinger speaks about bipartisan support to Georgia at GDSC
Republicans and Democrats disagree in many things but we are united when it has to do with Georgia,
Georgia Defence and Security Conference opened in Batumi
Georgia is hosting the 13th Georgia Defence and Security Conference (GDSC) in Batumi on Wednesday.
German ambassador to Georgia calls for Tskhinvali and Moscow to learn the lessons of the Berlin Wall
It would be good for those in charge in Tskhinvali and Moscow to learn the lessons of the Berlin Wall,
Bidzina Ivanishvili is ready to sell Panorama Tbilisi project
I am ready to hand over the project to interested businessmen at any stage,
US House of Representatives passes bipartisan Georgia Support Act
The United States House of Representatives has passed the bipartisan Georgia Support Act,
Georgian MFA concerned over “illegal process of borderization”
The Georgian Foreign Ministry expressed concern over the renewed illegal process of installing artificial barriers and barbed wire fences at the occupation line in the village of Atotsi, Kareli Municipality.
German President arrives in Tbilisi, welcomes dialogue between Georgian, Russian FMs
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomes resumption of dialogue between Georgia and Russia at the level of Foreign Ministers.
Rose Gottemoeller visits Georgia
This visit is an opportunity to deepen and strengthen our cooperation with Georgia even further.
Georgia needs to find peace to evolve, former Swiss ambassador says
One year before the elections the former Swiss ambassador Lukas Beglinger is sure that the country will soon face big changes.
Georgian MP slaps colleague, an argument erupts in the Parliament
Eka Beselia, the lawmaker who left the Georgian Dream party, hit majority MP Vano Zardiashvili at the sitting of the Legal Issues Committee.
Georgia will use all available means to rise up to the new Russian challenge, says Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
Georgia will use all available means to give a proper assessment and to stop Russia doing such things, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Vladimir Konstantinid said
Swiss State Secretary: “Georgia is safe, we do not grant asylum”
2500 Georgians have sought asylum in Switzerland since 2016. Not one request has been granted. Now Switzerland wants Georgia to tackle irregular migration.
"Georgia has a long way to go in Tourism"
Because of the booming tourism industries, the Georgian government starts to implement regulations. “But this happens not fast enough, not efficient enough and not rigorous enough”, says Stefan Meister from the Heinrich Böll Stiftung.
Former US diplomat Matthew Bryza discusses Georgia, NATO membership and Trump’s presidency with GJ
How can we explain the statement made by the former Secretary-General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rassmussen about the possibility for Georgia to join NATO?
NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Madeleine Moon visits Khurvaleti village
President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Madeleine Moon has arrived in the village of Didi Khurvaleti, in the Gori municipality, located near the Administrative Boundary Line.
“Georgia could soon be ready for regulations”
“With big money you can either build or destroy something”, says Vano Vashakmadze. The consultant for development in tourism helped to work out the new zone planning implemented by the government.
Mamuka Khazaradze establishes Lelo movement
The public movement of TBC Bank's founder Mamuka Khazaradze will be called Lelo.
TBC Bank founder Mamuka Khazaradze to establish social movement in Anaklia
The presentation of the social movement of the founder of TBC Bank Mamuka Khazaradze will be held tomorrow, September 12, in Anaklia. The event begins at 12:00.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
21.11.2019
22.11.2019
USD
1
USD
2.9776
2.9781
EUR
1
EUR
3.2956
3.3000
GBP
1
GBP
3.8444
3.8549
RUB
100
RUB
4.6553
4.6712
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
2.9781
EUR
1
EUR
3.3000
GBP
1
GBP
3.8549
RUB
100
RUB
4.6712
November 2019
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 30