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Another competition for the GPB board?

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, January 8
Public defender of Georgia Ucha Nanuashvili named the same candidate for the Board of Trustees of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) on January 6. During the first voting to the Parliament, on December 27, Nanuashvili raised two candidates. However, the legislative body approved only one. Meanwhile, members of the parliamentary majority state that a new competition might be needed for selecting the Board of Trustees of the GPB.

Consistent with the changes made into law regarding the GPB in July of 2013, a competition for the GPB board members was announced by the parliament chair and not by the president as was previous. A special commission composed of civil sector and media representatives brought a 27 person list to the parliament. Nine members of the board should be selected from the 27 men. The parliamentary majority should have named 3 candidates; three from the UNM, two candidates should have been named by the Public Defender and the last one by the Adjara Supreme Council. However, the parliamentary majority named 1 candidate and the minority 2. Finally, 6 candidates were voted on and three were approved. Natela Sakhokia, (named by the Georgian Dream) Ketevan Mskhiladze (named by the UNM) and Marina Muskhelishili (by the Public Defender) were approved in the end.

The process was strongly criticized by NGOs. The Coalition For Media Advocating, which unites 11 NGOs, including the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association and Transparency International Georgia, stress that the ongoing process regarding the GPB raise serious questions.

“We doubt that the process is politically motivated, and through declaring another competition for the board of trustees, the leading force will try to compose it with its desired candidates,” the coalition said.

“I had a chance to name some other candidate. However, through the consultations I decided to name the same candidate Lela Gaprindashvili on the position. I have not heard an argument why the candidate was rejected on December 27. I hope that the parliament will support those plans and valuable experience Gaprindashvili has,” Nanuashvili said.

The Parliamentary minority and the Adjara Supreme Council named the same candidates as well. The UNM had a chance to name three candidates, it named two on December 27; Ninia Kakabadze’s candidacy was rejected by the legislative body. The UNM will name Kakabadze again and it will name the third candidate after consultations with the non Parliamentary minority from the 27 person list. The Supreme Council of Adjara named Geno Geladze again.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary majority claims that the second round will be just for the candidates named by the Public Defender, the Supreme Council of Adjara and the minority. The coalition MP Ani Mirotadze states that the majority does not plan to use its quota and name two candidates.

“We named one candidate and could not select the other two from the list. Through the procedure, we will discuss and vote the candidates named by the Ombudsman, minority and the Adjara Supreme Council during the second tour. Presumably, the competition will be announced again for the end of the month (January) and we will name the candidates from a new list,” Mirotadze told

The second round of voting is planned for January 15. It will reveal whether the competition is announced again or not.