NewsGeorgia's Parliament clashes over controversial foreign agents bill

Georgia's Parliament clashes over controversial foreign agents bill

Turmoil in the Georgian parliament. A crowd gathers in front of the building
Turmoil in the Georgian parliament. A crowd gathers in front of the building

10:09 AM EDT, May 28, 2024

A fierce exchange of words erupted in the Georgian parliament during the debate on President Salome Zurabishvili's veto of the controversial bill on so-called foreign agents. A crowd of bill opponents gathered outside the parliament building, guarded by the police.

Representatives of the opposition expressed their outrage, accusing the ruling Georgian Dream party of selling out the country. Deputies of the ruling party refuted these accusations, claiming that their actions were in line with national interests.

Mtvari TV reported that members of the Georgian Dream, connected to significant business, met on Tuesday with oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili. Ivanishvili, the founder of the party and its honorary chairman, hosted the meeting to discuss the current situation.

Since April, mass demonstrations have been organized in Georgia against the bill pushed by Georgian Dream members. This bill is often referred to as the "Russian" bill. Several protests are planned across the country on Tuesday.

In the late morning, opponents of the bill began to gather around the parliament in Tbilisi, chanting, "No to the Russian bill!"—reports the portal. The police are guarding all entrances to the parliament.

The NewsGeorgia service predicts the number of protesters will increase after 11 AM (Eastern Time).

"Russian-style governance model"

Critics of the bill believe that its adoption constitutes a step backward for the country's future. They argue that it represents a renunciation of the pursuit of joining the European Union and NATO, adds

President Zurabishvili, returning the vetoed bill to parliament, emphasized that it is inconsistent with the constitution. She stated that its improvement is impossible and proposed that the legislation should be in effect only one day from the moment it comes into force.

Foreign partners of Georgia are appealing to the parliament in Tbilisi not to override the veto and to abandon the bill.

According to critics, the new regulations will allow the authorities to destroy civil society and will introduce an authoritarian governance model in the style of Russia.

The Georgian Dream party has enough votes to override the veto.

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