Georgia’s New President for Peace, Consolidation, and Reconciliation

salome_zurabishvili_in_2018Newly elected, the 5th, and the first female President of Georgia (as well as in the South Caucasus) Salome Zurabishvili held her New Year 2019 Speech in front of the new presidential residence – the Orbeliani Palace, renovated historical building, initially built in the 18th century, and belonging to one of the most famous noble families in Georgia – Orbeliani.
Her New Year 2019 Address, ceremonial head of state in the newly evolved parliamentary representative democratic republic, Salome Zurabishvili started with assessing passed 2018, calling it “the year of troubles on one hand, but at the same time of the joy, on the other”. She once again expressed her great gratitude for the support and trust revealed by the majority of public (59.52%) who voted for her, and consequently elected on the post by the end of 2018. After one of the heaviest election campaigns observed in Georgia till now not only in terms of fierce political competition, which eventually resulted in the precedence of the second tour during presidential elections in the country, but problematic also in regards of violating basic ethical standards mainly from the side of oppositional party – United National Movement (UNM) candidate Grigol Vashadze and his supporters, Salome Zurabishvili marked the importance of protection freedom of speech in parallel with the human dignity by law in order to prevent any future offences, defamation, and hate speech. She also raised the issue of fake news and disinformation, and the necessity of their elimination that might help Georgian society to get peace back and safeguard democracy.

 

 

The President addressed tragic cases of unknown substance abuse by the teenagers last year, and called the families and whole public to promote healthy lifestyle, especially among the youth. In this regard as well, she recalled the exemplary success stories of many Georgian sportsmen and parasportsmen in 2018. Last year has been distinguished by adding two more Georgian phenomena: three versions of Georgian alphabet, and Georgian Wrestling (Chidaoba) to the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Salome Zurabishvili expressed hope that promotion of Georgian culture in the world will grow stronger in 2019. She highlighted local and international success stories of many Georgian youth in the sphere of education as well, at the same time marking significance of future achievements. In addition, 2018 has been special for Georgian emigrants as they, despite being citizens of other countries, regained right for Georgian citizenship as well. The President congratulated New Year to every citizen of Georgia living in any place, “region, and village of the country and abroad, every traveler, policeman, soldier” serving in Georgia and different military missions abroad whom she promised to visit in the upcoming future. Salome Zurabishvili particularly addressed those “heroic” as she mentioned, Georgian citizens who live across the occupation lines, and has issued special messages for reconciliation for 2019 to Abkhazians and Ossetians living in Georgia’s breakaway regions. By the end of her speech, the President of Georgia expressed a desire for achieving common peace, harmony, tolerance, unity, and building precondition for integrity for all Georgians in 2019.

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