Georgian Presidential candidate Nino Burdzhanadze meets representatives of the Armenian community

Gita Elibekyan

Georgia is preparing for the presidential elections of October 27. Although there are 23 contenders for the post, analysts say the main competition will be taking place between three candidates – Giorgi Margvelashvili from the “Georgian Dream” headed by Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, David Bakradze from the “United National Movement” led by President Mikheil Saakashvili and Nino Burdzhanadze, the leader of the “United Georgia” Party.

On the eve Nino Burdzhanadze visited the St. Etchmiadzin Armenian Church in Havlabar district of Tbilisi and the “Hayartun” culture center and met with a group of representatives of the Armenian community.

In her election platform Burdzhanadze attaches great importance to the issue of national minorities. Also, she stresses the importance of preserving the Georgian language, saying “knowledge of Georgia is a must.” “I will do my best for the national minorities to master Georgian,” Burdzhanadze said, adding, however, that “this should not be done at the expense of their mother tongue.”

I saw during my recent visit to Samtskhe Javakhk that people understand Georgian, but face difficulties speaking it. Most importantly, I noticed that thy are willing to learn Georgian to fully participate in the political processes in the country,” she said.

“Everyone should feel himself/herself a citizen of this country, irrespective of nationality. Everyone should be equal and feel protected by the state. I’ll reach all this with deeds, not words,” Burdzhanadze said.

The candidate assured that if elected she would work to further improve the warm relations between Armenia and Georgia and create opportunities for the implementation of a greater number of joint regional programs.

It’s hard to say now who the Armenians will cast their votes for in the upcoming presidential elections. Representatives of the Armenian community of Tbilisi hope other presidential hopefuls will also express willingness to meet them.

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