Opposition leaders, who are expected to meet with senior ruling party officials later today, have said that Imedi TV and, what they call, “political repression” will be their priorities during the talks.
“Imedi TV and political repression will top our agenda,” Davit Usupashvili, leader of the opposition Republic Party told Civil.Ge on November 12. “We demand concrete answers from the authorities; otherwise, dialogue will be deadlocked and holding of democratic elections will be impossible.”
Imedi TV has been off the air since a November 7 police raid on the studio. A ruling party official has claimed that Imedi TV - co-owned by business tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili and News Corporation – was the propaganda wing of alleged coup plotters. There was a conspiracy against the state, the authorities say, involving “some radical opposition parties,” which were financed by Patarkatsishvili and backed by the Russian intelligence services.
“If Imedi does not resume broadcasting, I fail to see any sense in continuing this dialogue,” MP Kakha Kukava of the Conservative Party said.
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Vice Speaker Mikheil Machavariani said that the authorities were willing to engage in constructive dialogue.
"We are ready to answer the opposition‘s questions," Machavariani told the Georgian Public Broadcaster on November 12. "But we also expect them [the opposition] to give answers to our questions.”
The meeting, scheduled for 7 pm local time on November 12, will be the second since the November 7 unrest, when riot police dispersed demonstrators.
The first round of talks was held on November 10 and involved leaders from five opposition parties: Georgia’s Way, Conservative, Republican, New Rights and Industrialists. Nino Burjanadze, the parliamentary chairperson; Vice-Speaker Mikheil Machavariani; MP Giga Bokeria and MP Maia Nadiradze represented the government.