Proposed Televised Debates
By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, August 21
Parliamentary chairman Davit Bakradze will lead the election list of the ruling United National Movement (UNM) at the upcoming parliamentary elections while Vano Merabishvili will be the candidate for Prime Minister.
Spokesperson of the ruling party, Chiora Taktakishvili, said on Monday that both candidates are ready to participate in televised debates with their “main political opponents.” Taktakishvili said debates play an important role for ensuring free and fair elections. She said Bakradze and Merabishvili are ready to share their views and proposed programs to solve the problems many Georgian citizens are facing currently.
New Rights member Manana Nachkebia welcomed the idea of televised debates. She said it was not a surprise that the ruling party would name Bakradze as number one on their list. She said if the debates had started earlier the increasing tension and street confrontations could have been avoided.
Nachkebia said the New Rights Party will name their main candidates before the September 1st deadline. She said her party was one of the first to officially announce their election platform thus their candidates are ready for the televised debates.
Political analyst Soso Tsintsadze spoke of the UNM candidates as “strong and optimistic figures.” Tsintsadze said the fact that since the ruling party called their opponents for televised debates it means that the UNM is confident in their power. Another analyst, Vazha Beridze, thought the opposite. He said the government always tries to avoid major changes. He said the UNM has exhausted their human resources and cannot offer fresh faces. “Although Merabishvili managed to defeat the criminals it is a fact that his police system is much politicized.” Beridze said adding that the images of Bakradze and Merabishvili are the results of the “propagandistic machine.”
“The wide fantasy of President Saakashvili seems to have expired and he cannot offer anything new for the list of election candidates.” political analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili said.
For Tsiskarishvili it means that the ruling party is satisfied with the status quo in Georgia.
On the same day Georgian Dream coalition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili addressed President Mikheil Saakashvili to participate in the televised debates with him. Ivanishvili said there are two main political powers in the country: his Georgian Dream and the ruling UNM thus he would debate with the President “anytime, any situation and any form.”
But if Saakashvili does not accept Ivanishvili's challenge the Georgian Dream leader would meet with no less than seven representatives of the ruling party instead of his main opponent. “I am ready to debate with them about any issue,” he said stressing that debating with Saakashvili on air would be the best option.
Ivanishvili rejected debating with Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), New Rights, Labor Party and the Georgian Party calling them the “false opposition” but added that he will only debate with them if they admit that they all represent the authorities.
Ruling party member Davit Darchiashvili reminded Ivanishvili that October 1st is the date of the parliamentary elections not the presidential one. He said the UNM members debate with Georgian Dream members every day so that Ivanishvili is also welcome to engage in the process.