The messenger logo

Saakashvili gives last presidential speech

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Wednesday, October 30
Outgoing President Mikheil Saakashvili appealed to the nation on October 28. He talked about his achievements, regrets and mistakes. Saakashvili will be the first Georgian president stepping- down after serving his second and final term in full. Referring to the results of the October 27 presidential election in which the United National Movement (UNM)’s Davit Bakradze finished second with 21.7% of the vote. Saakashvili said that “this second place creates a firm foundation for further struggles and victories.”

Citing the words of the outgoing secretary of the National Security Council Giga Bokeria, Saakashvili said: “we will meet in the next election,” referring to the local self-government elections scheduled for spring 2014. “We have a chance in any of the following elections,” Saakashvili said, adding that “a period of uncertainty and difficulties lies ahead of Georgia and there will be a demand for a democratic, efficient opposition like never before.”

Saakashvili said that regardless of the mistakes and shortcomings during his term in office it was made possible to inspire hope, create a new form of patriotism and to retrieve the country's national pride, which was lost a long time ago. “I would like to respectfully request that you stand above all the social problems and above all of the existing dark political trends, and to ask yourselves: are we now better off than we were ten years ago?” he asked the people in his televised address from his residence in Avlabari.

While speaking about his and his administration’s mistakes, Saakashvili said: “We were impatient and often excessively strict.”

Apologizing to everyone who became victim to injustice and humiliation, the outgoing president said he regrets that often he over-trusted some officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and the Prosecutor's Office during his nine years as president.

"In our drive for fast reforms, we failed to recognize the necessity of explaining our actions with those who were against these changes,” he said, adding that the judiciary reform was too slow and reform in the education sector also lacked depth. “I assume full responsibility for that,” Saakashvili said.

Saakashvili also spoke about the things he is not sorry about. He said first of all he wanted “to return pride and power to the people.”

“I will not apologize for destroying organized crime; [we] eradicated all kinds of corruption and built new towns. I will not apologize for traversing the entire world in order to protect our homeland from powerful enemies, I will always be proud of what we have accomplished,” said the outgoing president, stressing that he knows that many of citizens are irritated by his accelerated pace.

At the very end, Saakashvili said he was not tired and would not get tired. On the contrary, he said that he would continue to work and struggle wherever he will be in the future. “Personally I do not need a rest, but the time has come when you have to rest from me,” he told the people, reminding them that “in the fight for freedom and progress of the country, we, as a nation, do not have and never will have the right to rest.”

Politicians estimated Saakashvili’s presidential years. Coalition member Davit Zurabishvili, thinks that Saakashvili has never made any kind of conclusion about what he really was doing. The Chairman of the Parliamentary Defense and Security Committee called Saakashvili a liar. “I do not believe a single word,” Sesiashvili stated.

However, Saakashvili’s team member, Sergo Ratiani, said that Saakashvili had to fight against crime and corruption and “at the same time, law enforcement agencies sometimes had to exceed their powers.”