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Complied by Liana Bezhanishvili
Monday, October 12
Should the Public Broadcaster board be for NGOs only?

Rezonansi reports that the Parliamentary opposition has suggested that the Supervisory Board of the Georgian Public Broadcaster should contain only NGO representatives. Christian Democrat Levan Vephkhvadze announced this last week.

Vephkhvadze also spoke about increasing the power of the GPB board, saying that this would be easier to achieve than reaching agreement on the abovementioned initiative, although the Christian Democrats will do their best to achieve both things.

NGOs have welcomed this initiative and say that if a new election is held for all 15 members of the Supervisory Board and NGO representatives are elected this will be the first step in making GPB a real public broadcasting station.

Neither opposition nor Government know what they think

Rezonansi reports that the opposition have stated that the next meeting of the working group discussing changes to the election code has been put off at their request because the Government isn’t ready, or doesn’t know how, to change the election environment.

Significantly there is also no consensus among the opposition parties about what changes should be made. The larger parties are asking for different changes to smaller ones, which makes the opposition’s demands unclear, to the benefit of the authorities. However the General Secretary of Irakli Alasania’s party Our Georgia- Free Democrats, Zurab Abashidze, says that the National Movement has no common position on how to change the election system either. He said the Alliance for Georgia, of which the party is a part, had taken the lead on all the principal issues – such as how to register electors accurately and how the central and sectional election committees should be appointed.

Abashidze says that it is not clear what kind of elections the authorities are offering the opposition. The Alliance has insisted on the prior registration of voters in the regions and says it is ready to register people who cannot travel to registration centres itself. It also wants to change the system of handling complaints of malpractice during an election.

Russia’s vain attempts to disrupt NABUCCO project

Russia will soon resume gas imports from Turkmenistan in order to create obstacles to NABUCCO being supplied, 24 Saati writes. Analysts suppose that this new contract will not be financially profitable for Russian supply company Gazprom due to the current prices on the international market, but by doing this it might force Turkmenistan to refuse to join the NABUCCO project.

Russia has tried the same thing before but in vain. There is talk about it now playing the Armenian card, namely, trying to divert NABUCCO’s route through Armenia due to security issues in Georgia, but this will not be discussed openly as Azerbaijan is entirely against such a move.

NABUCCO construction will begin in 2011. It became known last week that the Parliament of Hungary will ratify the construction agreement in October. The other states which have signed the draft agreement also plan to ratify it in the near future, among them Romania. Russia has suggested to Romania that it ignore NABUCCO in favour of the Russian South Stream project, but unsuccessfully. Russia has also failed to win over Bulgaria, another signatory, which has broken off negotiations with Russia over Southern Stream.