Georgia Vetoes Russia-Style Foreign Agent Law

The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, welcomed the veto by Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili of the controversial "On Transparency of Foreign Influence" bill. This legislation sparked mass protests across Georgia.

Michel took to Twitter to write that the President's veto warrants further consideration. He added that the legislation, in its current form, contradicts European values and Georgia's aspirations for EU membership.

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili vetoed the "On Transparency of Foreign Influence" law, which had previously been adopted by the country's parliament in its third reading. However, the ruling Georgian Dream party is likely to override the presidential veto. With 83 members of parliament, the party comfortably surpasses the 76 votes required to overturn the veto. Zurabishvili has exhausted her veto power on this bill, and if she refuses to sign it into law, the Speaker of Parliament will do so instead.

In an interview with CNN, the Georgian President acknowledged that her decision was largely symbolic. "This veto is as symbolic as this 'Russian-style' law," she said.

The draft law on foreign agents, seen as modelled on Russian legislation, mandates that NGOs and media outlets receiving more than 20% of their funding from foreign sources register as "organisations acting in the interests of a foreign power." The passage of this bill in the third and final reading on May 14th by Georgia's parliamentary majority was met with clashes between lawmakers from the Georgian Dream party and the opposition. This incident stemmed from the exclusion of opposition representatives from a May 13th meeting of the Legal Committee, where the parliamentary majority rushed through the revision of the law in a mere 67 seconds.

Meanwhile, the controversial law has sparked mass protests in Tbilisi. Police deployed tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds, and there have been numerous arrests.

Translation by Iurie Tataru

Bogdan Nigai

Bogdan Nigai


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