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Talks about Televised Debates Continue

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, August 22
The ruling United National Movement (UNM) candidate for Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili is ready to participate in televised debates with his opponent from the Georgian Dream coalition Bidzina Ivanishvili, ruling United National Movement (UNM) spokesperson Chiora Taktakishvili said on Tuesday.

Stressing Merabishvili’s readiness Taktakishvili hoped that Ivanishvili will accept this challenge and debate with Merabishvili at the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) on air.

Taktakishvili said the voters’ should hear how the politicians plan to solve the problems facing the country. She said Vano Merabishvili will challenge Ivanishvili in debates not because he is happy with such a forum but because the UNM respects the people’s interest to hear diverse opinions from the “radically different” candidates in televised debates.

As the leader of Georgian Dream, Bidzina Ivanishvili will be the candidate for the position of Prime Minister but rejected debating either with Davit Bakradze or Vano Merabishvili. He said "Society will not accept that they are of the same weight as me."

Encouraging President Mikheil Saakashvili to meet him in televised debates Ivanishvili promised he will not ask him awkward questions. “I will not remind him of any mistakes, let him just come and debate.” Ivanishvili said stressing that he will only talk about the future prospects of the country and its development.

Ivanishvili emphasized that if Saakashvili still refuses to debate with him he will agree to debate with 7-12 UNM representatives because more people will cause a mess.

Ivanishvili is not interested in debating with Bakradze who was named as number one in the UNM election list. Ivanishvili said Bakradze has the same answer to every question while Merabishvili is so discredited he will not be worth debating with.

But UNM’s Chiora Taktakishvili did not find Ivanishvili's statement serious when the latter said he would only debate with President Saakashvili or the entire government. “It is difficult to give a serious response to this statement.” she said adding that the citizens’ interests should be the most serious issue for everyone.

Meanwhile the other opposition parties also named their PM candidates. The Labor Party asked UNM and Georgian Dream to name the date when they will debate with their leader Shalva Natelashvili. Giorgi Targamadze will lead both the Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM)’s election list as well as be their candidate for prime minister while New Rights Party list will be led by the party’s leader Davit Gamkrelidze who will also run for the position of PM. The New Rights Party’s spokesperson Pikhia Chikhradze said Gamkrelidze is ready to engage in televised debates during the election period with any political opponent.