Georgian parliament votes to overturn presidential veto of ‘foreign agents’ law — Novaya Gazeta Europe

Georgian parliament votes to overturn presidential veto of ‘foreign agents’ law

The Georgian parliament voted to overturn the presidential veto of its recently passed “foreign agents” law on Tuesday in a plenary session broadcast live on its YouTube channel.

After the unpopular law was passed on 14 May, Georgia’s President Salome Zourabichvili vetoed the legislation, which mirrors a notorious 2012 Russian law that has since been used by the Kremlin as a tool to weaken civil society and silence independent media, four days later.

Opening the plenary session, the speaker of Georgia’s parliament, Shalva Papuashvili, reaffirmed the ruling Georgian Dream party’s intention to override the veto, describing the controversial law as being “in the interests of the Georgian people”.

While overturning the presidential veto required just a simple majority in parliament, or 76 votes, in total some 84 deputies, all from the Georgian Dream party and all of whom had previously voted in favour of the law, voted to overturn the veto.

The bill, which requires any non-governmental organisation receiving more than 20% of its funding from abroad to identify itself as an “agent of foreign influence”, will now be resubmitted to the president for her to sign into law. Should Zourabichvili refuse to sign it, it can be signed into law by the speaker, according to the Georgian Constitution.

The so-called “Russian law” has met with strong resistance from Georgian civil society, and from younger people in particular. In a month of protests, an estimated 100,000 people came out onto the streets of the country’s capital Tbilisi to oppose the legislation. Police used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters.

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