Giorgi Margvelashvili sworn in as Georgia’s new president
16:22 – 17.11.13
Giorgi Margvelashvili has been sworn in as the new president of
Georgia during a ceremony in Tbilisi, RFE/Radio Liberty.
Margvelashvili, a close ally of ruling Georgian Dream coalition leader
and outgoing Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, won a landslide in
the country’s October presidential election.
The low-key inauguration, attended by over 50 foreign delegations, was
held at the courtyard of the old parliament building in Tbilisi.
The 44-year-old philosopher and former university rector will serve a
During his inauguration ceremony, Margvelashvili promised to press on
with plans to join the European Union and NATO, key ambitions of
former President Mikheil Saakashvili, while also working to reduce
tensions with Russia.
“Despite the difficult situation we are facing today and in parallel
with integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures, we
reiterate our commitment to further dialogue with Russia and building
confidence to solve the problems that exist today,” Margvelashvili
“This dialogue will be built upon unequivocal respect for Georgia’s
national interests, i.e. respect for our internationally recognized
borders and the principles of territorial integrity and sovereignty.”
Reaching Out To Abkhazia, South Ossetia
Margvelashvili also sent a message to people in Abkhazia and South
Ossetia, the two breakaway regions of Georgia that Russia formally
recognized as independent states following the five-day
Georgian-Russian War in 2008.
“Our offer to our compatriots living in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali
region is as follows: let us build a successful democratic country
together, a country that will guarantee the welfare of all citizens,
preservation of their ethnic and cultural identity, and respect for
their political rights,” he said.
“As president of Georgia, the ruling party and I assume responsibility
for implementing this policy.”
Margvelashvili’s inauguration brings to an end the nearly decade-long
presidency of the pro-Western Saakashvili.
According to Georgian law, as soon as Margvelashvili is sworn in on
November 17, the current government must resign and a new one elected
However, the Georgian Dream coalition is expected to remain in power
since it holds a majority in parliament.
On the eve of the inauguration, the United States paid tribute to
Georgia’s outgoing leaders and called on those coming to power to
Saakashvili refused to attend the November 17 ceremony, citing the
criminal prosecution of several of his former ministers and members of
Ivanishvili has labeled Saakashvili a “political corpse” and warned
that he could face prosecution.
Saakashvili has said he will not leave Georgia.
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