The Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) will host TV debates between some of the presidential candidates on October 17 and October 18.
There are total of 23 candidates running in the October 27 presidential elections, but only those candidates are invited in TV debates who have been nominated by ‘qualified political parties’ - those, which, as defined by the election code, have won at least 3% of the vote by running either separately or in a bloc with other parties in the most recent parliamentary and local elections.
There are only seven ‘qualified’ candidates: Giorgi Margvelashvili of the Georgian Dream; UNM’s Davit Bakradze; CDM’s Giorgi Targamadze; Koba Davitashvili of People’s Party; Zurab Kharatishvili, nominated by the European Democrats of Georgia; Sergo Javakhidze of Movement for Fair Georgia; Teimuraz Mzhavia, nominated by the Christian Democratic People’s Party.
Former parliament speaker, Nino Burjanadze, does not fall in this category of candidates as her Democratic Movement-United Georgia party has not run in recent elections.
She, however, is still able to be part of the TV debates, as the election code has a provision according to which a status of ‘qualified’ can also be assigned to a candidate who had at least 4% of support according to five public opinion surveys fielded in the election year or in a poll carried out one month before the election day.
Invited candidates will be divided into two groups; those with higher standing in recent polls are likely to be grouped together to face each other in one of the planned two debates. The public TV is expected to announce details of the format and how candidates will be grouped on October 12, according to GPB’s spokesperson.
Similar debates, facilitated by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), were also hosted by GPB ahead of the local elections in 2010 and parliamentary elections in 2012.