Georgian President denies assent to foreign agent bill using veto power

Tbilisi: The President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili  vetoed the foreign agent bill. The bill was sent to the president for her assent after it was adopted by   parliament in the third reading  few days ago amid the large-scale protest in the capital.

The protestors demanded the withdrawal of the law and called it Russian law, arguing that it would stifle the independent voice in the country.

After using her power, the president stated, “ I have vetoed the law on foreign agents as this law, it is in its essence and spirit, is a Russian law. Moreover, the provisions of the law are contrary to our Constitution and all European standards. If it is approved in its present form  it will create a number of obstacles to the European path of the country that gained the status of a candidate country of the European Union in December Last Year.

“This veto is not a result of a whim, but a decision based on sound evidence. It will now be submitted to the parliament for reconsideration” the President clarified. She further emphasized that this law, in her view, cannot be implemented and therefore, a simple veto is the only viable option. “In any case, there is no option except the withdrawal of this law,” she concluded.

The move comes earlier as president can normally holds any bill up to two weeks before the veto. She has said many times she is not interested in any blame game with the ruling  Georgian Dream over the Foreign Agents law.

It is worth noting that the ruling regime of the Georgian Dream Party needs 76 votes to overcome the veto. The spring session of the Georgian Parliament is set to go into recess on June 28, resuming in September. There is speculation about whether the ruling party will choose to challenge the veto or postpone the law until September, adding to the uncertainty surrounding the issue.

On the other hand, the police crackdown on the protestor was highly condemned by many regional and world leaders as well.

Zurab Kvaratskhelia

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