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Progress in Talks over Public TV Reported
/ 25 Feb.'08 / 22:53
Civil Georgia

An agreement has been reached in principle on the composition of a new board of trustees of the public TV, both ruling party and opposition negotiators said after talks late on February 25. Details, however, are not expected to emerge until February 26.

Levan Gachechiladze and Giorgi Khaindrava (both individual members of the nine-party opposition coalition) and MP Gia Tortladze of the Movement for United Georgia, also part of the nine-party coalition, as well as MP Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of the New Rights Party, and MP Zurab Tkemaladze, leader of the Industrialist Party, participated in the talks. Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze, as well as lawmakers Giga Bokeria, Pavle Kublashvili and Givi Targamadze, represented the ruling party.

The meeting marked the resumption of talks between the authorities and the opposition, after the opposition coalition announced on February 22 that it was calling off planned protest rallies and a hunger strike and was going back to the negotiating table.

The meeting focused on the selection of a shortlist of 27 people from a list of 235 applicants seeking a place on the nine-member board of trustees of the public TV.

“It was a constructive meeting,” Gamkrelidze said. “Agreement has been reached in principle on the selection criteria.”

Tortladze went further, saying that the shortlist of 27 candidates “has actually been agreed.” “We have actually listed twenty seven people who can be nominated. Some details, however, need to be clarified which will happen early tomorrow.”

Negotiators, however, refused to give names, saying that early public scrutiny could scupper the process.  

“I will refrain from giving names because consultations are still ongoing. Of course concrete names have been discussed, but names will not be known until tomorrow,” MP Irina Kurdadze, who made a statement on behalf of the parliamentary speaker, told Rustavi 2 TV’s late-night political talk show, Primetime. “We have agreed that all the candidates should be acceptable, first and foremost, for the people and not just for the political parties.”

Talks are scheduled to resume at noon on February 25 and if final agreement is reached, Parliament is expected to convene on the same day to approve the new board.

Meanwhile, another four people arrested in connection with the November 7 events, it was announced after the talks, will be released on February 26, or no later than February 27.

“So far eight have already been released and four more will be released; that was agreed today,” MP Gia Tortladze told the Georgian Public Broadcaster. “I think the release of these twelve people is a good achievement, which makes the negotiations worthwhile.”

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