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Zurabishvili Pledges to “Fight to the End”

The ruling party endorsed presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili says she will compete in the second round runoffs. She vows “not to let” Georgia fall “to Russia and Grigol Vashadze.”

The candidate made the announcement in her first official press statement after the October 28 presidential elections, which put her neck-in-neck with Grigol Vashadze of the UNM-led coalition.

Zurabishvili, surrounded by family members and politicians from the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party, said she was thankful to her voters and activists for their support during the elections. The candidate said this was their common victory.

“One might think, this was not a victory, perhaps we might have expected more, but the first place in the first round is a victory; despite a very dirty campaign, defamation, and other Russian methods, we managed to secure the first place,” Zurabishvili said.

Zurabishvili then referred to media reports that she was considering to withdraw from the race. “Rustavi 2 TV thinks and tries to convince the people that I might withdraw my candidacy, but I won’t let the country to Vashadze and Russia, and I won’t let down our supporters.”

“They probably do not know me well… they do not know how stubborn I am, they do not know that I am ready to fight to the end for our people and our country,” the candidate noted.

“I am ready to compete because I have a faith in you … and in your wisdom, I believe you know what you want for Georgia, I believe you know [very well] that today we are not making a choice between two candidates, or two parties – today we are making a choice on what kind of Georgia we want to have,” Zurabishvili added.

“We will fight together because we know that the truth is on our side – Europe is on our side, Georgia’s future is on our side. Together towards victory!,” she concluded.

Kaladze: Zurabishvili will secure decisive victory

Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze, one of the ruling party heavyweights, was present at the press briefing as well.

In his brief media engagement after Zurabishvili’s remarks, Kaladze, who serves as the general secretary of the Georgian Dream party, said the candidate won the first round and will win the runoffs as well.

“We will decisively win the second round and we will win with a big margin together with the Georgian people,” Tbilisi Mayor stressed, adding that the party would resume the election campaign beginning from tomorrow.

Earlier, on October 29, Kaladze said one of the reasons for low electoral performance could be the decision of the ruling party not to nominate a candidate from its own ranks. He suggested then that backing of an independent candidate “weakened the voter mobilization process.”

Georgia held the first round of its last direct presidential elections on October 28. Runoff between the two top contenders has to be held two weeks after the CEC publishes the final vote tally of the first round, that is no later than 20 days after the Election Day. This places the latest possible date of the runoff on December 1, 2018.


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