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Georgian President Vetoes Foreign Agents Law

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Photo: Georgian President Vetoes Foreign Agents Law. Source: NATO
Photo: Georgian President Vetoes Foreign Agents Law. Source: NATO

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili believes that the country's opposition, protesting against the "foreign agents" law, may succeed in repealing it if they garner enough votes in the upcoming parliamentary elections in October this year. She also confirmed that she would veto the law passed by the Georgian parliament, although she understands that the ruling party has enough votes to overcome it, according to CNN.

Zurabishvili also noted that after the Georgian parliament adopted the bill on "foreign agents" in the third reading, there are "many concerns." She called this law a complete "copy" of the law adopted by the Kremlin in 2012, which, in her words, is used for "complete suppression and repression against civil society" in Russia.

"The way and place where we can change all this is the elections in October... And we must use this mobilization of society and consolidation of political parties to go and win these elections," added Salome Zurabishvili.

The Georgian president mentioned that Russia is increasingly "disturbed" by Georgia's rapprochement with the European Union, referring to the recent decision of the bloc to grant Georgia candidate status for EU membership.

The bill "On Transparency of Foreign Influence" was adopted by the Georgian parliament on May 14. Throughout the consideration of this bill by the Georgian parliament, there were massive protests by pro-European opposition.

Since this law is similar to the Russian law on "foreign agents," it has also received sharp criticism from the West. In particular, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Jim O'Brien, has already warned that Georgia could face financial restrictions if the law on "foreign agents" is not brought into line with European standards.

The publication The Gaze reported that the Georgian parliament adopted a controversial bill on "foreign influence" despite widespread protests against the law's text, which is modelled after Russian legislation and could steer the Caucasus country away from Europe toward Moscow.

Before the vote on the "foreign agents" bill in the Georgian parliament, a scuffle broke out between representatives of the majority and the opposition. Similar scuffles have occurred in recent weeks.

During the third and final reading, deputies voted 84 in favour and 30 against.

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