A ‘foreign agent’ law is vetoed by the leader of Georgia

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By Creative Media News

  • President vetoes “foreign agent” law after weeks of protests
  • Law seen as Russian, hindering EU membership aspirations
  • Government likely to override veto despite public opposition

The president of Georgia’s veto of a divisive “foreign agent” law has ignited weeks of widespread street demonstrations.

On Tuesday, legislators endorsed the contentious bill mandating the registration of independent media and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that obtain over 20% of their financial support from foreign donors as entities “beholden to the interests of a foreign power.

According to Salome Zourabichvili, the law, in its “essence and spirit,” is fundamentally Russian and impedes Georgia’s path to EU membership.

Nonetheless, her veto is symbolic, as the prime minister’s Georgian Dream party has sufficient parliamentary support to override it in a subsequent ballot.

The president said her veto was “legally justified” in a Saturday televised address.

“This legislation is impervious to any modifications, enhancements, or embellishments; therefore, it constitutes a straightforward veto. “This law ought to be repealed,” she declared.

It was anticipated that Ms. Zourabichvili, an adversary of Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze, would veto the legislation.

Mr. Kobakhidze, meanwhile, has requested that youth demonstrators appoint a minimum of ten representatives to partake in a public discourse alongside him concerning the contentious legislation.

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On Friday, the Interpress news agency reported that he stated, “In certain instances, I am not only willing to listen to their critical remarks, but I am also willing to share them.” “I anticipate the same from young people.”

Critics assert that the legislation draws inspiration from authoritarian policies implemented in neighboring Russia, which are utilized to suppress dissent.

Some are concerned that the legislation will impede Georgia’s candidacy for EU membership, granted in December 2023.

Candidate nations must increase government transparency, implement anti-corruption reforms, and advance civil society as membership requirements.

Because of the measure, the Caucasus nation has been engulfed in massive demonstrations for nearly a month. Recent online photographs and videos appeared to depict violent confrontations between police and demonstrators.

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