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Zourabichvili: It’s Hard to Imagine the Ruling Party Not to Support Me

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, September 5
An independent presidential candidate, former Foreign Minister who went into the opposition of Mikheil Saakashvili government, Salome Zourabichvili says that it is hard for her to imagine whom the Georgian Dream ruling party may support other than herself.

“It is difficult for me to imagine that the Georgian Dream will support any presidential candidate other than me or that parties other than the Georgian Dream will support me,” Salome Zurabishvili told the Kviris Palitra newspaper.

She said that the support of other parties would be “politically unacceptable” for her.

"The ongoing discussion in the Georgian Dream is understandable. It is a difficult decision for a party to refuse to nominate its own candidate and support another candidate,” Zourabichvili said, who has refused her French citizenship as the presidential candidate must hold only Georgian citizenship.

Zoirabichvili also spoke about her vision and plans.

"I can help the country in two directions - international contacts and diplomatic experience that I have had over the years. I know well how to speak with international partners.

“Of course, I am not going to be a president of a confrontation, this will not bring positive results to the country,” Zourabichvili said.

The opposition continues to say that Zourabichvili, who believes that Georgia was provoked to launch the 2008 war with Russia, will bring no positives to Georgia as the president.

The Georgian Dream, which will “definitely support” one of the independent candidates for the October 28 presidential race, will announce the name of the candidate on or after September 8, when all the presidential candidates will be registered at the Central Election Commission.

Current President Giorgi Margvelashvili, who was called on by part of politicians and the civil sector to run for the second term, has refused to participate in the elections and announced his return to the education field.

More than 30 candidates have already been registered for the presidential elections, many of them are unknown or less known to the public.

Salome Zourabichvili, 66, was born in Paris, into a family of Georgian political emigrants. She attended some of the most prestigious French schools, such as the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), and began a master's program at Columbia University in New York in the academic year of 1972-1973.

She quit her studies and joined the French foreign service in 1974, becoming a career diplomat with jobs in Rome, the United Nations, Brussels, and Washington.

Salome Zourabichvili was a Head of the Division of International and Strategic Issues of National Defence General Secretariat of France in 2001-2003. She was appointed as the Ambassador of France to Georgia in 2003.

Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili nominated her as Foreign Minister in his new cabinet and Zourabichvili was the first female to be appointed to this post in Georgia on 18 March 2004.

Former Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli fired her in October 2005 after a series of disputes with parliament members.

Shortly before her dismissal was announced, Zourabichvili resigned from the French foreign service, which had continued to pay her a salary while she was a minister, and announced that she would remain in Georgia to go into politics.

In November 2005 she set up the organization "Salome Zourabichvili's Movement." In January 2006 she announced the establishment of a new political party "Georgia's Way."

On 12 November 2010, Zourabichvili announced her withdrawal from the leadership of Georgia's Way and continued her career abroad, as a coordinator of UN panel of experts on Iran.

In the 2016 parliamentary elections in Georgia, now under the Georgian Dream leadership, Zourabichvili participated as Tbilisi Mtatsminda District majoritarian candidate and won the race, took her seat in the legislative body.