The Parliament of Georgia finally approved the law on “foreign agents”

Olha Bereziuk

In the third, final reading, the Parliament of Georgia adopted the draft law "On transparency of foreign influence".

This is reported by Echo Kavkazu.

84 deputies voted for the approval of the initiative of the pro-government "Georgian Dream", 30 were against.

President Salome Zurabishvili previously promised that she would veto the bill. According to the Constitution of Georgia, the president signs and publishes the law within ten days or returns it to the parliament with reasoned comments.

At the same time, "Georgian Dream" has enough votes to overcome the veto. If even after that the president does not sign the law, it is signed and published by the speaker of the parliament.

The Constitution does not specify the terms during which the parliament must override the presidentʼs veto. Presumably, "Georgian Dream" can finally approve the law in mid-June.

What is happening in Georgia

On April 8, 2024, the ruling party "Georgian Dream" registered a project on "foreign agents" in the parliament. The law forces the media and organizations with a share of foreign capital to report, and also gives the right to the Ministry of Justice to arrange inspections with subsequent fines.

This is the second attempt to pass the law — a year ago, the vote was canceled amid large-scale protests and clashes. Now the voting is also accompanied by protests. Detentions near the parliament began on April 15, and on April 16 there were clashes with security forces.

On April 17, the Parliament of Georgia approved the controversial law on "foreign agents" in the first reading.

All international partners of Georgia call on Tbilisi to refuse approval of the draft law on "foreign agents". On April 16, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Teodoros Roussopoulos appealed to the Venice Commission to urgently provide an opinion on this draft law.

The European Union warned that the adoption of this law could stop Georgiaʼs European integration. In December 2023, the country received the status of a candidate for EU membership.

On May 1, the draft law was supported in the second reading and sent to the third. After that, protests resumed in Tbilisi.

The President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, suggested postponing the entry into force of the law on "foreign agents" until November 1, i.e. after the countryʼs parliamentary elections scheduled for October 26.