Georgian Parliament Set to Override Presidential Veto on Foreign Agent Bill

The Georgian parliament is poised to override President Salome Zurabishvili’s veto of the controversial “foreign agent” bill, parliamentary Speaker Shalva Papuashvili announced on May 20.

The legislation, requiring media and NGOs receiving over 20% of their funding from foreign sources to register as “foreign agents”, has sparked widespread protests in Georgia for over a month. Despite the public outcry and international criticism from the US and EU, the ruling Georgian Dream party, backed by sufficient parliamentary support, plans to enact the law.

However, the bill was vetoed on May 18 by Zurabishvili, deeming it “unacceptable” and “inconsistent” with Georgia’s aspirations to move towards Europe. Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze, also of the Georgian Dream party, responded by criticizing the presidential veto as “blocking room for a healthy discussion”.

Meanwhile, US Congressman Joe Wilson is proposing sanctions against Georgian officials advocating for the bill.