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Ex-Foreign Minister Struggles for Presidential Bid

Salome Zourabichvili, the leader of the opposition Georgia?s Way party and ex-foreign minister, is to seek a judicial ruling to allow her to run for the presidency.

Zourabichvili, who has signaled her ambition to run, is however ineligible, due to a fifteen year residency requirement. Zourabichvili was born in France, to the parents of Georgian origin who emigrated in the 1920s. She has only lived in Georgia since 2003. She argues that the constitutional provision stipulating the fifteen year residency requirement should not apply to those whose ancestors fled Georgia following the Soviet take-over in 1921.

In late July, Zourabichvili sent a letter to the Central Election Commission asking whether she had the right to run. In a response letter, which in itself is a legally bound official act, the CEC said that she had no such right. On September 3, Zourabichvili appealed to the court in Tbilisi, requesting the CEC decision be annuled. She has, however, little chance of succeeding, commentators say, as a constitutional amendment would be required for her to run.

Meanwhile, Rezonansi published on September 3 a non-scientific public opinion survey. The newspaper said that 300 randomly selected respondents in Tbilisi, contacted by phone, were asked whom they were likely to vote for if a presidential election were held today.

27% of those surveyed, according to Rezonansi, would vote for none of the potential candidates. President Saakashvili, according to the survey, would receive 14.6% of the votes, followed by the ex-defense minister, Irakli Okruashvili, with 10%.

Levan Berdzenishvili was third with 7.3% and Salome Zourabichvili -fourth, with 5.6%, followed by Shalva Natelashvili, the opposition Labor Party leader with 4.6%. Davit Gamkrelidze, the leader of the opposition New Rights Party and Gia Maisashvili received 4.3% each. 19.6% of those surveyed said they had not yet decided, according to the newspaper.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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