President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili addressed the nation on October 28, denouncing attacks that “serve to create a sense of instability in the country, spread fear and panic, and stir up tensions in the pre-election period.”
The President’s statement comes amid opposition’s strong criticism against the handling of the October 21 Zugdidi bank robbery, as well as the worsening COVID-19 crisis, taking place few days ahead of hotly-contested October 31 parliamentary polls.
The President highlighted the importance of holding elections in a transparent, peaceful and fair manner and called on the nation to vote on Saturday.
President Zurabishvili stated that crucial “institutions and individuals whom the public trusts” are under discrediting attacks, namely the Georgian army, law enforcement and health officials. “It is my responsibility to protect these institutions and individuals,” she added.
Referring to the Zugdidi bank robber, who had allegedly served in the Georgian army, the President noted that the “entire army should not be treated as guilty” because of one perpetrator. “It is unacceptable to spread degrading and discrediting assessments… in a country whose territories are occupied and which aspires to join NATO,” she added.
The Georgian President then praised law enforcers for “the successful operation, that saved the lives of all the hostages,” adding that Georgian agencies successfully cooperate with foreign partners, including in the areas of terrorism and cybersecurity, and attempts at discrediting the law enforcement would not serve the interests of “our country, nor that of our Western partners.”
President Zurabishvili also stated that there are attempts at undermining prominent figures in the healthcare sector, to damage their authority and weaken public confidence, which “was the key to our success in the first phase [of the pandemic].”
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