News

Parliament starts discussion on President’s veto on foreign agent bill

The Parliament has today started discussing the foreign agents law, which was submitted to it after President Salome Zourabichvili vetoed.  The Parliament adopted the controversial law earlier this month in its third and final discussion. 84 members out of 150 members supported the bill  while 30 voted against it.

 

The law is being criticized by opposition parties, non-government organizations, and civil society organizations. The law makes it mandatory for all media houses, non-government organizations, and civil social organizations to register if they receive more than twenty percent of their funding from a foreign country.

Moreover, they will be registered as institutions under foreign influence. The Georgian Dream-led government already announced that it would override the president’s veto as it has a clear majority in the Parliament.

Finally, today, the Georgian Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee begins to discuss the remarks of President Salome Zourabichvili during the use of her veto power.Parliamentary Secretary of the President Giorgi Mskhiladze presented the president’s remarks to the members, which called for the repeal of the law.

Georgian Public Defender Levan Ioseliani also advised the GD government not to override the President’s veto.  The opposition parties  urged the Government not to override the veto as it would damage the country’s international relations and democratic values.

On the other hand, Davit Matikashvili, the First Deputy Chair of the Committee, claimed that the president is driven by personal interest and does not care about the country’s national interest. Against the backdrop of ongoing public protests and criticism from Georgia’s foreign minister, the president vetoed the bill presented for her assent.

The capital was abuzz with protesters demanding the repeal of the law. The protesters also called it a Russian law because it had been enacted under Russian influence. They also feared that if the proposed law is implemented in its present form, it will suppress the country’s independent media voices.

Zurab Kvaratskhelia

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