Georgian President Vetoes 'Foreign Agent' Law

(MENAFN- AzerNews) Georgia's president has vetoed the "foreign agent" law that hassparked weeks of mass street protests, Azernews reports.

On Tuesday MPs passed the controversial law which requires NGOsand independent media that receive more than 20% of their fundingfrom foreign donors to register as organisations "bearing theinterests of a foreign power".

Salome Zourabichvili said the law "in its essence and spirit, isfundamentally Russian" and an obstacle to Georgia's path to EUmembership.

However, her veto is only symbolic as the prime minister'sGeorgian Dream party has enough members in parliament to overrideit by holding another vote.

In a televised address broadcast on Saturday, the president saidher veto was "legally justified".

"This law cannot be a subject to any change, improvement andembellishment, and thus it's a very simple veto. This law must bewithdrawn, " she said.

Zourabichvili - an opponent of prime minister Irakli Kobakhidze- was widely expected to veto the law.

Meanwhile, Kobakhidze has called on youth protesters to selectat least 10 representatives to join a public discussion with him onthe controversial law.

According to The Interpressnews agency reported on Friday, hesaid: "I am ready to not only listen to their critical remarks, butin specific cases, share them. I expect the same attitude fromyouths."

Critics say the law is inspired by authoritarian legislationneighbouring Russia uses to crush dissent.

Georgia was granted EU candidate status in December 2023, andsome are concerned that the law will derail the country's path toEU membership.

Conditions for membership involve candidate countriesimplementing anti-corruption reforms, increasing governmenttransparency, and promoting civil society.

Massive rallies against the bill have gripped the Caucasuscountry for nearly a month. Photos and footage posted online inrecent days appeared to show violent altercations betweenprotesters and police.



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