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GD offers new format of debates for Mayoral candidates

By Messenger Staff
Monday, October 9
On October 6, Archil Talakvadze, leader of the parliamentary majority and head of Kakha Kaladze's office, offered a new initiative to media outlets.

Talakvadze said, Georgian Dream (GD) offers media agencies to agree on a joint format for debates of Tbilisi mayoral candidates.

As he explained, little time is left before the elections, andthe demand on candidates to participate in debates is increasing.

"We offer all major media outlets to agree on a joint format in which every TV representative and every candidate will be able to participate and accessibility of the audience will be ensured," said Talakvadze.

He also noted that Tbilisi mayoral candidate Kakha Kaladze is ready to take part only in such a format of debate.

“It is impossible to go to all televisions and to debate. First of all, it’s not interesting to hold the same debate on same issues,” mayoral candidate Kaladze told journalists adding that he’s having quite an intensive agenda and is planning to meet the population on a daily basis.

The mayoral candidates of Tbilisi responded to the ruling team's offer. According to them, they are ready to participate in debates, but part of them assesses GD’s initiative as an attempt to interfere into the editorial policy of media outlets.

An independent candidate Alexander Elisashvili says the format is “uncertain.”

“I would like to address the televisions - do not make decisions in accordance to the directives of the GD. You have to decide what kind of debate it should be,” Elisashvili said.

According to Zaal Udumashvili, Mayoral Candidate of the National Movement, the media should not be dictated about the format of debates.

One of the leaders of European Georgia Giorgi Gabashvili does not rule out that the ruling party will not participate in the debate due to an undesirable format.

“The statement is practically an indirect refusal,” Gabashvili said about the initiative adding that “every channel has its own format and we are going to take part in all the debates.”

The Media representatives also commented on the initiative.

The head of the Information Office of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) also commented on the initiative of GD statingthat the Public Broadcaster is carrying out coverage of the pre-election campaign in which mayoral candidates of the self-governing cities and administrative centers will have thepossibility to debate on equal terms in a preliminarily agreed format of debates. The coverage is implemented according to the approved format and schedule and the TV company does not intend to change the format.

TV companies Rustavi 2 and Imedi have not made a decision yet.

TV Company Iberia states that in case the debates will take place at Public Broadcaster, they will take part. Head of TV company Kavkasia Nino Djangirahsvili has urged her colleagues to launch the organization of debates and “do not let Kaladze to avoid debates.”

In addition to uncertain fate of future debates of mayoral candidates, there are a number of questions that need to be answered. TV companies have to agree which Channel will host the debate in a proposed format, who will be the moderator and to what extent the audience will have a chance to participate.