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Georgia’s National Assembly has passed controversial “foreign agent” law

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Demonstrators in front of large police forces who blocked the road to the National Assembly in the Georgian capital Tbilisi on Monday. Photo: Shakh Aivazov / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 14.05.2024 14:19:43

War and conflicts: 84 elected representatives voted for the controversial law, while 30 voted against.

Before the vote on Tuesday, fights broke out between members of different parties inside the National Assembly in the capital Tbilisi.

The law means that the authorities can demand full transparency in non-governmental enterprises that receive at least 20 per cent of their funding from abroad. In Georgia, this particularly applies to independent media and organizations that are run with the help of funds from Western institutions and foundations.

The critics believe that the law is leading Georgia in an authoritarian direction and point to a similar law in Russia that has been used to gag independent media and human rights organisations.

Although the Georgian law has now been approved by the National Assembly, it is expected that President Salome Zourabishvili will veto it.

However, Zourabishvili’s presidency is coming to an end, and changes to the constitution mean that from now on it will be the people’s elected officials who will appoint a new president. The effect of a veto can thus be short-lived.

The EU has warned that the new law will create problems for Georgia’s application for membership of the union. Many young Georgians fear that the country is now moving more towards Russia than towards the West.

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