NewsGeorgia's president vetoes controversial foreign agents bill

Georgia's president vetoes controversial foreign agents bill

Salome Zurabiszwili
Salome Zurabiszwili
Images source: © PAP | DUMITRU DORU

1:03 PM EDT, May 18, 2024

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili vetoed the bill on the transparency of foreign influence (on foreign agents), the Interpressnews.ge agency portal reported on Saturday.

"This bill is not subject to any amendments or changes. This bill should be entirely withdrawn," stated the president.

"Today, I vetoed the Russian bill. This bill is essentially, in its spirit, a Russian bill, which is contrary to our constitution and all European standards and constitutes an obstacle on our way to Europe. The veto is lawful and will be submitted to the parliament today," she assessed.

Salome Zurabishvili had announced that she would veto the controversial foreign agents' bill, which her critics believe would allow the authorities to destroy civil society and independent media.

Although the ruling party, Georgian Dream, has the majority needed to overturn the veto (77 votes are required, and a majority of 84 votes passed the foreign agents' bill), the president believes that her veto should become a voice of opposition on behalf of Georgians protesting against the bill.

The foreign agents' bill, called "Russian," has caused nearly forty days of mass protests in Georgia. According to its critics, it will enable the authorities to destroy civil society and descend into Russian-style authoritarianism. In practice, they believe it also means a return to the Russian sphere of influence, as it is already evident that the bill's adoption is causing an unprecedented crisis in relations with the West.

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