Zaza Abashidze, nominated by the opposition European Georgia party, was appointed with 98 votes cast in favor. Abashidze is a founder of “Squander Detector,” a local watchdog that monitors public expenditure.
Bondo Mdzinarashvili’s candidacy, whose bid was backed by Alliance of Patriots MPs, as well as several independent lawmakers, was endorsed with 95 votes. Mdzinarashvili is the editor-in-chief of Obiektivi TV, a channel aligned with the Alliance of Patriots party.
Ruling party’s nominee Gia Murghulia garnered the support of 92 MPs. Murghulia is a member of the school authorization board at the Education Ministry.
Before today’s voting, eight nominees were selected from a pool of ten candidates by an ad hoc commission staffed by journalists and media professionals. The list was then submitted to the legislative body for consideration.
A nomination submitted to the Parliament needs endorsement by the majority of lawmakers for confirmation.
Civil society reactions
Transparency International Georgia, a local CSO, decried “a breach of procedure” during the selection process, as the number of nominees submitted to the Parliament is one less than required – the law stipulates that the total must be at least threefold the number of vacant seats. The watchdog called on the Parliament to suspend the selection process and address the shortcoming.
Tamar Kintsurashvili of the Media Development Foundation (MDF) that monitors anti-Western media and issues an annual report, says Mdzinarashvili works for a TV channel that airs “openly anti-Western views” and personally frequently espouses anti-Western views in the media.
His confirmation goes hand in hand with the ruling Georgian Dream party’s ambivalent attitude towards pro-Kremlin figures, who are known for bashing Georgian Dream’s political opponents, Kintsurashvili told Civil.ge.