Main candidates running for Tbilisi mayor are expected to participate in the first and only TV debates, which will be hosted by the Georgian Public Broadcaster on May 8.
Live TV debates, three weeks ahead of the May 30 local elections, are scheduled for 9pm local time, moderated by anchor of GPB’s First Channel, Eka Mishveladze, chairman of GPB’s board of trustees, Levan Gakheladze, told Civil.Ge on Thursday.
Incumbent Tbilisi mayor, Gigi Ugulava; leader of Alliance for Georgia Irakli Alasania; Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of Conservative Party, nominated by National Council coalition; Giorgi Chanturia, nominated by Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) and Gogi Topadze, leader of Industrialists Party confirmed their participation.
There are total of nine candidates in the Tbilisi mayoral race, but these five contenders have been selected based on a principle that they were nominated by the political parties, which the election code defines as “qualified parties” – those that won at least 4% of the vote in the last parliamentary elections and at least 3% of the vote in the last local elections.
GPB board chairman, Levan Gakheladze, said that the public television was ready to allocate airtime, probably on May 9, to host a separate TV debates between four other candidates, nominated by ‘non-qualified’ parties if they agreed.
Debates are co-funded by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and GPB. USAID provided USD 40,000 to assist the public broadcaster with staging the debate and other costs, and for funding post-debate online survey and focus groups and candidate training.
The candidates will be given equal time for opening statements, answer questions from the moderator and for closing statements. The candidates have been informed in advance of general themes that will be debated, but all candidates will receive the exact questions an hour before the debates.