TBILISI, DFWatch–Students at Tbilisi State University are planning a protest on Friday against the system of having the 12-member academic board of the institution elect a rector.

Organizers say it is not right that only 12 persons decide this, when there are more than 20 000 students.

“By our rallies we want to let the board know that they are responsible to the university community and tomorrow we will try to remind them about this responsibility,” Levan Lortkipanidze, one of the rally organizers told Interpressnews.

Lortkipanidze says that all twelve members of the board were selected by members of the National Movement, the former ruling party. Among them is a former deputy of Zurab Adeishvili, the ex Justice Minister, and several former MPs.

“We know well that they are politically motivated people, but now they have a chance to prove to us, the university community, that they are honorable people and can make a free decision in spite of pressure,” he said.

The rector election will be held tomorrow Friday and the ballot is secret. A candidate must receive more than half of the board’s votes to be elected.

The last rector, Alexandre Kvitashvili, resigned in June during a legislative amendment process in parliament.

After the amendments, a rector is required to have a degree of higher education. Kvitashvili doesn’t have a PhD. He was health minister in Saakashvili’s government before coming to TSU. His resignation was a protest against the amendments to the education legislation, which were strongly criticized but eventually passed by parliament.

Fourteen candidates are registered to participate in tomorrow’s rector election. However, Marina Chitashvili, who is professor at TSU, withdrew her candidacy on Thursday without stating the reason.

Representatives of nine non-governmental organizations will observe the election. The chosen candidate will become the TSU’s 28th rector and be elected for a term of four years.