Salome Zourabichvili, who was Georgia’s foreign minister in 2004-2005, said she was thinking about whether to run or not for presidency in October elections as an independent candidate.
“I am still thinking about it and I need public support to take this step [and run for presidency],” Zourabichvili told journalists on Sunday, adding that if she sees in coming weeks that there is support, she will decide in favor of running.
Zourabichvili, who returned back to Georgia last week, met PM Ivanishvili on Saturday. Ivanishvili said that during this recent meeting with Zourabichvili, like during previous several other meetings with her, he had discussed “cooperation”, details of which he did not specify. Ivanishvili also said that he wanted political parities outside his Georgian Dream coalition to be stronger and to have a strong opposition parties, other than UNM; he, however, also immediately added that he had not discussed this issue with Zourabichvili.
Even if Zourabichvili decides to run, she may face legal hurdles. Georgian legislation demands from a presidential candidate to have lived in the country for at least five years and must be a resident of Georgia for last three years prior to setting of election date. Zourabichvili may face hurdles in meeting this three-year residence requirement. In November, 2010 Zourabichvili announced about “temporarily quitting” Georgian politics and left the country after she was appointed as a coordinator of UN panel of experts on Iran.
Born in Paris to an immigrant family that fled Georgia in 1921, Salome Zourabichvili was ambassador of France in Tbilisi before she was offered by President Saakashvili to take the post of Georgia's Foreign Minister in March, 2004. Following a confrontation with then ruling UNM party lawmakers in October, 2005, she was dismissed, after which Zourabichvili founded an opposition party, Georgia's Way, becoming President Saakashvili’s fierce critic. She holds dual Georgian and French citizenship. The Georgian legislation bans a person with dual citizenship to be elected as the President.