President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili released an address ahead of the 2020 parliamentary elections
“The elections are in three days. I appeal to you at this important stage for the country: to contain COVID and save the economy, to strengthen the stability of the country, to strengthen our democratic progress – these are the current and unalterable priorities of our country.
Meanwhile, an attack is carried out on the institutions and there are attempts to discredit the individuals whom the public trusts and who we need most for tomorrow, that is – the army, law enforcement and health officials.
It is my duty to protect these structures and individuals on which the present and the future of our country stand.
On the Army – Because of one person, whoever that person may be, the entire army should not be treated as guilty. It is unacceptable to spread degrading and discrediting assessments on the entire army. All the more so in a country whose territories are occupied and which aspires to join NATO. Such baseless allegations directly undermine the interests of the country, and serve only to destabilize or to abet foreign interests.
As the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Georgian Defense Forces, I categorically condemn such attempts. I want to reaffirm my trust and respect for the Georgian army.
Degrading assessments of the professionalism of law enforcement also serve to discredit the country exactly in a field where we enjoy a high international reputation. Our structures work effectively with our Western partners in a variety of areas, including terrorism and cybersecurity. Questioning the existing cooperation does not serve the interests of our country, nor that of our Western partners.
As President, I would like to categorically condemn the deliberate attempt to undermine the professionalism of our law enforcement in the eyes of the public and ultimately undermine internal stability. I would like to express my gratitude for the successful operation that saved the lives of all the hostages, and to thank the head of this operation publicly.
In the field of healthcare – cursing and discrediting its most famous and respected representatives serves to undermine their authority and weaken the public confidence in them, weaken the trust that was the key to our success in the first phase. We need to have the confidence inside and outside the country to be able to effectively manage this process and to deepen our international cooperation – be it for obtaining vaccines or other necessary medicines.
As President, I cannot but appreciate, in front of the whole country and society, their great merit, which comes often at the cost of their own health. I would like to express my – and society’s – gratitude to the epidemiologists, doctors, nurses and all the people who have fought tirelessly and are fighting tirelessly on the frontlines against the invisible enemy. I would also like to honor the people who sacrificed themselves to save others.
These attacks serve to create a sense of instability in the country, spread fear and panic, and stir up tensions in the pre-election period.
It is our common duty to understand well the challenges we face:
– Georgia remains the most stable and democratic country in this region. We must maintain and strengthen this status. Given the conflict in the region, our stability is even more important to us, to the region as a whole, and to our partners. Transparent, peaceful and fair elections on the path to our democratic development will be another step forward;
– Despite the challenge of COVID, I believe that together, we can, in full compliance with the health recommendations, show everyone another example of high civic self-awareness.
Thus, our coming to the polls is the best answer to all the existing challenges and our unalterable guarantee of tomorrow’s day. It’s the duty of every citizen – yours, mine.
Finally, I would like to congratulate those who will be going to the polls for the first time, will take part in the development of the state for the first time and thus determine the future of their country.
Go vote! Go vote in the peaceful, fair elections!,” President said.