Meet Salome Zurabishvili, Georgia’s first female president-elect
A few hours ago, Salome Zurabishvili was elected as Georgia’s president-elect. This makes her the first woman to hold exalted office in Georgia.
She was born March 18, 1952.
Zurabishvili, an independent lawmaker, is the daughter of refugees who fled Georgia in 1921 for Paris after the country’s annexation by the Red Army.
She took up a career in the French Foreign Service and was posted to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, as ambassador in 2003. She later gave up her post and the then-president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, appointed her foreign minister.
Zurabishvili quickly made enemies among the parliamentary majority, with MPs and some senior diplomats accusing her of arrogance and impulsiveness.
When she was sacked after a year in the job, thousands took to the streets of the capital to protest her dismissal.
She was the Coordinator of the Panel of Experts assisting the UN Security Council’s Iran Sanctions Committee.
In November 2004, Zurabishvili was appointed Foreign Minister of Georgia.
As foreign minister of Georgia, Zurabishvili was the main negotiator of the agreement for the withdrawal of Russian military bases of the territory of Georgia, which was signed with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov on May 19, 2005.
In March 2006 Zurabishvili founded the political party “The Way of Georgia” and served as the Leader and honorary Chairwoman of the Party until 2010.
Following her victory in the 2016 parliamentary elections, she became an Independent Member of Parliament of Georgia. Georgian Dream, the governing party of Georgia, supported Zurabishvili’s independent candidacy in which she has won by a significant margin.
Salome was married to the Georgian journalist Janri Kashia from 1940 to 2012. She has two children, Ketevan and Teimuraz.