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President Margvelashvili: During Pre-Election Campaign Debates about Georgia’s Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity and Right to Self-Defense, We Should Not Damage the Morale of Georgian Soldiers

Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Georgia has held a reception for the 2018 Tbilisi Leadership Forum participants and Francis Fukuyama, American political scientist, political economist, and author.
President Margvelashvili thanked Francis Fukuyama for visiting Georgia and discussed the pre-election environment in Georgia.
“We are in an interesting phase right now, when we are facing very important elections that we will be discussing briefly right now. I hope these elections will be a step forward for my country, for strengthening democracy in this country, for furthering a democratic process which I believe is extremely important for Georgia. If we lose the momentum, if we lose the charm of democracy which is uniting this society, which is presenting Georgia to our friends and allies, if we lose the momentum that we are the nation that has been so persistently trying to build a democracy, I think that we will be losing all the potential that is embedded in these people.
There are couple of things I wanted to share with you about the ongoing political process and my observations that we have been sharing with our friends. The campaign has become really heated up. Today, I have had a meeting with some of our allies and they were asking me why this campaign is so hot when we are choosing a president with very limited rights. My answer was that this is because the campaign is about values. These values are very important for Georgian people and the country which has one of the most complicated geopolitical location and neighborhood. As I have mentioned before, democracy is one of the values that is crucial for this country. To survive and identify itself, the country has to strengthen a democratic process and society in this respect. Human rights is also an extremely important value because one cannot build a pluralistic and democratic society without really observing the rights of own citizens. National sovereignty is also very important, our territorial integrity and the commitment of this nation to maintain its statehood in the boundaries that it is entitled to and to keep its men and women capable of committing their lives if it is needed. It is extremely important for our survival, to maintain this nation and state. This is not a theoretic discussion; this is a practical discussion, unfortunately, that is the light motive of our nation now, it has been before for centuries and our ancestors have been able to maintain this nation. So, this discussion is about the values and that is why it is so important.
The election campaign is crucial because people are emotionally engaged in this process and I hope that this process will be conducted the most procedurally and in the most proper and fair terms. I believe, this is the goal of everyone engaged in this process. Beyond those discussions, one of the things I have been concerned about is the damage that the process could cause to the nation. I had been talking about this possible damage before. First of all, this is the feeling that we, as a nation, are united around something; no matter who is the competitor and who is the candidate, there are things that unite Georgians as a nation. I believe, that ‘something’ should be our dedication to our integrity and sovereignty. This should not be damaged. In this discussion that we have about our sovereignty and territorial integrity and right to self-defense, we should not damage the morale of our men and women in uniform who stand in arms usually against hundred times prevailing opponent. Their feeling that they are doing the right thing will be never questioned when they defend their society. We should not damage this. In those severe discussions, we should keep those people confident in the political leadership. When there is an order to protect the nation and people’s lives, they should be confident in the cause they are committed to.
I have been thinking about the two tendencies and two emotions that are competing right now in Georgia. On the one hand, we have strong individuals with the right to carry out rightful campaign, taking about their goals and political leadership, while on the other hand, the feeling that is sometimes lacking the process. I would say this is the feeling of community that we all belong to. This is something that I have been lacking in the Georgian political class in many cases. In severe political debates, sometimes we forget that we are debating within a united community. At the same time when we are exercising our political campaigns, we should take care of the union that we all belong to. This union is the feeling of community which is our country, which is Georgia. While trying to oppose our opponents, we should not damage the overall environment.
This is not only the Georgian case, but we see similar problems in other places and other nations. In many cases the feeling of unity is under erosion. When we see question marks about one of the most successful projects of the 20th century, the European Union that has brought prosperity, security and development to many people, that is because the feeling of community, of the union, of something that everyone belongs to no matter that they are separate individuals, is under question marks. We see similar tendencies appearing in NATO, a project that has been so successful and that ended the Cold War with total success. Then you think, how could they question the success of the winning party, the party that has all of the benefits of the end of the Cold War, that has been more prosperous and secure after the Cold War and that has brought prosperity to individuals and nations. In my case it is extremely complicated issue because at the same time political leadership like in Russia are looking stronger. The party that has lost the Cold War confrontation is feeling more confident than the Union that has won it. I feel that this emotion, the sentiment of the united world that we all belong to in the globalized world, should, in theory, make us more dedicated to community but, strangely enough, we are losing the feeling of union and communal life be it on the level of cities, states, or international unions.
This is something I am concerned about and I wanted to share with you in the context of the upcoming elections and global challenges that are facing Georgia. I hope that through this discussion we will answer some of the most important questions about Georgia’s democracy and beyond. I very much hope that these elections will bring success not to one or the other political leader, but overall, bring positive development to Georgia, as a democratic community and unite Georgia under the causes that are upholding this nation,” President Margvelashvili said.
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