66-year-old Salome Zurabishvili has emerged as the first female President of Georgia.
Ms Zurabishvili was born in Paris in the year 1952 after her parents fled Georgia in 1921 to escape the Bolshevik regime.
She attended some of the most prestigious French schools, such as Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), and began a master’s program at Columbia University in New York in the academic year of 1972–1973.
Zurabishvili abandoned her studies and joined the French foreign service in 1974, becoming a career diplomat with jobs in Rome, the United Nations, Brussels, Washington, etc. The first time Zurabishvili visited Georgia was in 1986 during a break from her job at the French Embassy in Washington.
In 2003, she was posted to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, as ambassador. The following year, President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia nominated her as Minister of Foreign Affairs making her the first female to be appointed to this post in Georgia.
In November 2005 Zurabishvili set up the organization Salome Zurabishvili’s Movement. In January 2006 she announced the establishment of a new political party Georgia’s Way, criticizing the country’s “de facto one-party system.”
On 12 November 2010, Zurabishvili announced her withdrawal from the leadership of Georgia’s Way. She was succeeded by Kakha Seturidze.
After a two-year leave from politics, she publicly endorsed Georgian Dream ahead of the 2013 presidential elections. Shortly after, Georgia’s Central Election Commission refused to register her as a presidential candidate due to her dual Georgian-French citizenship.
In August 2018, Zurabishvili announced that she would participate in Georgian presidential elections. Zurabishvili won the 2nd round of the 2018 Georgian presidential election, becoming President elect. She will be inaugurated as the first female President of Georgia on 16 December 2018.
Salome Zurabishvili was married to the Georgian journalist Janri Kashia (1940–2012). She has two children, Ketevan and Teimuraz, from her first marriage.