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Georgia’s parliament to decide on overriding presidential veto on foreign agents law

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Georgia’s parliament to decide on overriding presidential veto on foreign agents law

Today, Georgia’s parliament will begin the process of deciding whether to override a presidential veto on a controversial foreign agents bill.

The law requires organizations receiving more than 20% of their funding from abroad to register as “agents of foreign influence”.

Demonstrations have erupted in Georgia following parliament’s decision to pass the law despite widespread opposition from citizens who believe that the law could be used to suppress opposition and crack down on civil society. Demonstrations have turned violent as riot police used water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets against protestors. President Zurabishvili vetoed the legislation, calling it “a Russian law”.

Parliament is widely expected to override Zurabishvili’s veto as the ruling pro-Russian Georgia Dream party has enough of a majority in parliament to do so. This move will have major implications for Georgian foreign relations as the US has already instituted a travel ban for Georgia Dream politicians and is expected to re-evaluate bilateral ties. European leaders have also expressed that the bill will negatively impact Georgia’s chance at joining the EU. As Georgia faces alienation from Europe and the United States, expect leaders from the Georgia Dream party to push more pro-Russian sentiments. Additionally, expect a greater centralization of power under the Georgia Dream party to raise international concerns about democratic backsliding in the country.

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