Nino Burjanadze (Georgian: ნინო ბურჯანაძე [ninɔ burd͡ʒanad͡zɛ], also romanized Burdzhanadze or Burdjanadze, born 16 July 1964) is a Georgian politician and lawyer who served asChairperson of the Parliament of Georgia from November 2001 to June 2008. She has served as the acting head of state of Georgia twice; the first time from 23 November 2003 to 25 January 2004 in the wake of Eduard Shevardnadze's resignation during the Rose Revolution, and again from 25 November 2007 to 20 January 2008, when Mikheil Saakashvili stepped down to rerun in the early presidential elections. She withdrew into opposition to Saakashvili as the leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia party in 2008. In June 2013, she announced her intention to run for president in the October 2013 election.
Nino Burjanadze was born in Kutaisi, then-Soviet Georgia. She graduated in 1986 from the Faculty of Law of the Tbilisi State University (TSU) and afterwards pursued education at theMoscow State University from which she graduated with a doctorate in International Law in 1990. In 1991, she became an docent (Associate Professor) of the Faculty of International Law at the Tbilisi State University. At the same time, she worked as an expert-consultant in international law for the Parliament of Georgia and the Ministry for Environment Protection and Natural Resources.
In 1995, Burjanadze was elected to the Parliament of Georgia for the Union of Citizens of Georgia (UCG) then chaired by the President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze and supported financially by her father Anzor Burjanadze, a wealthy businessman.. She first chaired the Parliamentary Committee for Constitutional Law from 1998 to 1999, and the Parliamentary Committee for International Relations from 2000 to 2001. During the years, she became known as a supporter of pro-Western values and proponent of Georgia's integration with NATO and theEuropean Union. She was closely allied with the reformist wing within the UCG led by Mikheil Saakashvili and Zurab Zhvania whom she succeeded on November 9 as the parliamentary chairperson after Zhvania resigned on November 1, 2001.
Although she gave Shevardnadze strong support in his dealings with foreign countries (in particular with Russia), she spoke out forcefully against the corruption and inefficiency of his government's domestic policy, declaring it to be "absolutely incompetent." She left the UCG in 2002, forming an opposition party called the Burjanadze-Democrats to fight the November 2003 parliamentary elections.
After the rigged parliamentary elections of 2 November 2003, she joined other opposition leaders in denouncing the election results and urging mass demonstrations against Shevardnadze. The terms of the Georgian constitution automatically made her the acting president when Shevardnadze resigned on 23 November. One of Burjanadze's first actions was to appeal for national unity and repeal the state of emergency declared by Shevardnadze, in an effort to restore stability to a with a long history of political violence. She was an obvious candidate for the post, as she is widely respected by her compatriots - opinion polling in 2003 showed her to be one of 's three most popular political figures.
On 4 January 2004, Mikhail Saakashvili won the pre-term presidential elections in with an overwhelming majority. He was inaugurated on 25 January. A new was elected on 28 March, with Burjanadze resuming her old post as Speaker on 22 April.
Following a political crisis in late 2007, Saakashvili called new parliamentary and presidential elections for January 2008. In order to contest the presidential election, Saakashvili announced his resignation effective 25 November 2007, with Burjanadze becoming acting president for a second time (until the election returned Saakashvili to office on 20 January 2008).
Burjanadze was designated to lead the United National Movement party list for the parliamentary elections scheduled on 21 May 2008, but on 21 April she announced, in a surprise move, that she would not seek reelection due to a lack of consensus in the compilation of the National Movement's party list. Burjanadze's term as a parliamentary chairperson expired with the new legislature's inaugural session on 7 June 2008, when she was succeeded by David Bakradze.
In June 2008, Burjanadze announced she would set up a think tank that would serve as "a new form of being in politics." The organization — the Foundation for Democracy and Development (FDD) — was inaugurated in Tbilisi on 7 July 2008.
On 27 October 2008, in the aftermath of the 2008 South Ossetia war between Russia and Georgia, Burjanadze announced the establishment of "a clear-cut opposition party" calledDemocratic Movement–United Georgia.
On 28 November 2008, in an interview with Russia's Vesti news channel, Russia's NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin accused the United States of planning to replace Mikheil Saakashvili with Burjanadze as president of Georgia.
On March 23, 2009, the Georgian interior ministry confirmed, that 10 of the activists from Burdzhanadze's party, Democratic Movement–United Georgia had been arrested. Burdzhanadze accused Mikheil Saakashvili of arranging the arrests to intimidate the opposition. Burdzhanadze said the arrests marked the start of a "punitive campaign" by the government against the opposition, ahead of the mass protest planned for April 9 to demand Saakashvili's resignation.
The protests led by Burzhanadze began on May 21, 2011 when over 10,000 Georgians attended a demonstration in Tbilisi demanding Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's resignation. In the southwestern town of Batumi some demonstrations also occurred with some protesters attempting to break into the television building. Nino Burjanadze has been a lead figure in the demonstrations. The protesters in Batumi briefly clashed with police. On 26 May at about 00:15, Georgian police began to suppress the protests with tear gas and rubber bullets Many journalists as well as the elderly were beaten and some opposition have gone missing
Burjanadze is married to Badri Bitsadze, the former head of the Department of Georgian State Border Defence, who stood down shortly after Burdjanadze's political transformation. They have two sons.