Parliament confirmed on April 17 three more new members of the public broadcaster’s board, but two seats still remain vacant as GD lawmakers voted down candidates picked up by the UNM parliamentary minority group.
The new, nine-seat board now has seven members. But after the Constitutional Court ruled last week that pre-term termination of authority of seven members of the previous board was unconstitutional, the Parliament has now to amend the law to put it in line with Constitutional Court’s ruling. One of the options, according to some observers, is to increase total number of board seats in order to combine old and new members in a single board. Lawmakers have yet to decide how they will address the Constitutional Court’s ruling. Parliament speaker, Davit Usupashvili, said on April 17, that consultations will continue with all the stakeholders on this issue.
In accordance to the law, amended last year, the Parliament started composition of the new nine-member board earlier this year, but failed to complete it as lawmakers approved only four new members from the list of candidates vetted by selection commission, composed of civil society and media representatives.
New competition was announced in March to fill the remaining five vacant seats of the new board; three candidates for each vacant seat was chosen through competition by the same selection commission.
GD parliamentary majority picked two candidates – Grigol Gogelia, who worked for Georgian National Communications Commission in 2001-2011, and a documentary filmmaker, Sandro Vakhtangov. Both of them were confirmed as new members of the public broadcaster’s board.
A legislative body of Adjara Autonomous Republic picked Giorgi Kokhreidze, who was a lawmaker in 1999-2004; he was also confirmed as new member of the board.
UNM parliamentary minority group picked Davit Kiziria, an assistant professor at the Tbilisi-based Ilia State University, and Ninia Kakabadze, a media and film critic; both of them were voted down by the GD parliamentary majority group. Kakabadze was also voted down in January.
UNM parliamentary minority leader, Davit Bakradze, said after the vote that by rejecting candidates picked by the opposition, the GD ruling coalition showed disrespect to the system of quotas by which various stakeholders (among others, parliamentary majority and minority groups) are aligable to select their favorite candidates.
A second round of vote has to be held within ten days; if the UNM names the same candidates they will require at least 50 votes to be confirmed as board members.
Parliamentary speaker, Davit Usupashvili, said he hopes the board will be fully composed after the second round of voting.