Salome Zourabichvili officially becomes the fifth president of Georgia
17 December, 2018
Salome Zourabichvili officially becomes the fifth president of Georgia
The inauguration ceremony of president-elect Salome Zourabichvili took place in Telavi, Kakheti (eastern region of Georgia) on the 16th of December. Georgia’s President-elect Salome Zourabichvili laid a wreath at the memorial of the Georgian heroes fallen in the struggle for Georgia’s territorial integrity a day before the inauguration. On the same day, Salome Zourabichvili visited the grave of St. Ilia and paid tribute to the Georgian writers and public figures who are buried in Mtatsminda Pan
theon of Writers and Public Figures.

According to the Constitution, the newly elected President of Georgia delivered a speech and took an oath, after which, Giorgi Margvelashvili’s authority was terminated. The inauguration ceremony was held in the King Erekle Palace at 15:00 and lasted for 40 minutes. At 16:00, Salome Zourabichvili held a reception for guests at the Vazha Pshavela Drama Theater in Telavi.
Salome Zurabishvili laid a wreath at the memorial of the Georgian heroes fallen in the struggle for Georgia’s territorial integrity

About 150 representatives from around 55 countries took part in the inauguration of the 5th President of Georgia. High-ranking guests from more than 20 countries and 16 international organizations arrived in Georgia for the ceremony. Besides, Georgian politicians, public figures and celebrities attended the inauguration. According to the Head of the inaugural committee, Kakha Kakhishvili, 1800 people took part in Salome Zourabichvili's inauguration ceremony. 

Highlights of Salome Zourabichvili’s Inaugural speech

'I am undertaking a responsibility to be president of all citizens of Georgia' - said the fifth president of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili during the inauguration ceremony. According to her, she will protect the rights and freedoms of all citizens, will guarantee the rule of law, will not spare efforts to strengthen civil society and promote political culture.
The former president of France Nicolas Sarkozy was attending the Georgian presidential inauguration

'I respect those who did not vote for me. I also know that other parties have a different position about recognizing me as president. But today, I am undertaking a responsibility to be president of all citizens of Georgia. This is the main principle of democracy. The Georgian state is based on this responsibility and consciousness.

I will protect the rights and freedoms of all citizens, I will guarantee the rule of law, I will not spare efforts to strengthen civil society and promote political culture. Each citizen, free media and the non-governmental sector can play a significant positive role in achieving public agreement.

Today, when I became the fifth president of Georgia, I am proud that we were able to transfer the presidential power in a peaceful and civilized manner. This is another democratic step forward,' said Salome Zourabichvili.

Salome Zourabichvili pointed out that the country faces a big challenge as Abkhazia and South Ossetia are occupied by Russia. 'The occupation line gradually moves closer to us and our citizens are being kidnapped. This is unacceptable for a sovereign state. We will not tolerate this!'
President-elect Salome Zourabichvili was inaugurated as the fifth president of Georgia on the 16th of December

She also talked about the contribution of the ex-presidents of Georgia to the development of the country. Zviad Gamsakhurdia was the first president of Georgia. During his presidency, the country signed its first independence referendum followed by the declaration of the country’s independence. The second president of Georgia, Eduard Shevardnadze laid the foundations of the relations with Europe and the Euro-Atlantic area. As for Mikheil Saakashvili, the third president of Georgia, he launched a number of significant reforms at the beginning of his presidency. Lastly, Salome Zourabichvili said that the former president of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili strengthened the democratic process and stability in Georgia.

The opposition failed to enter Telavi

Supporters and leaders of the United Opposition left Tbilisi for Telavi to once again protest against the results of the November 28 presidential elections. The opposition rally was scheduled to be held in Telavi at 14:00. According to Grigol Vashadze, former presidential candidate of the United Opposition, their demonstration was going to be peaceful.
During the Inauguration in Telavi, supporters and leaders of the united opposition were going to protest against the results of the November 28 presidential elections in the same city on the area allocated for them beforehand. Opposition activists clashed with the police after they blocked access to the city of Telavi.

Opposition activists clashed with the police after they blocked access to the city of Telavi. The ministry of internal affairs claimed that they had offered a longer route to protesters as well as shuttles. They also said that the protesters could have walked to Telavi.

The leaders of the protest insisted the offered route was blocked just like the others and accused the government of violating their constitutional right to freedom of movement. The opposition also claimed the authorities did not inform them about the alternative routes beforehand. As a result of the clash, the opposition could not enter Telavi but the protests were held in several locations throughout the country including in Batumi and Zugdidi.

The minister of internal affairs Giorgi Gakharia criticized a statement made by the Public Defender Nino Lomjaria, who earlier called on the authorities to respect the opposition’s constitutional right to travel freely to Telavi. She also urged protest organizers to ‘avoid violating the law, so that the assembly and manifestation sit within the constitutionally guaranteed limits’.

After the swear-in ceremony, former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili called for a rally in Tbilisi in front of the Parliament building on Rustaveli Avenue. That evening the supporters gathered in front of the building and set up several tents.
Leaders and supporters of the united opposition clashed with the police after they blocked access to the city of Telavi where the inauguration took place

Today on the 17th of December, Grigol Vashadze, leader of the united opposition announced that they start non-stop rallies from tomorrow. According to the opposition leader, they are demanding punishment of those people, who falsified the presidential elections, “we are categorically demanding punishment of those criminals, who attacked peaceful demonstrators yesterday, we are categorically demanding punishment of those policemen, who headed this punitive operation. We are starting nonstop rallies from tomorrow. These rallies will be held peacefully within the Constitution and law,” Grigol Vashadze said.

They demand early parliamentary elections in the shortest possible time, to change the election administration and the elections to be held under a proportional system.

Related stories:

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100% of the ballot counted: Salome Zourabichvili wins

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