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Georgian President vetoes law on foreign agents

Georgian President vetoes law on foreign agents President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili (photo: Getty Images)

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili has vetoed the controversial law on foreign agents. However, the Georgian parliament may override the president's veto and finally approve the document.

"Today I vetoed the 'Russian' law. This law is, in its essence and spirit, a Russian law that contradicts our constitution and contradicts all European norms, to the extent that it is an obstacle to our European path," Zurabishvili said in her address to the Georgian people.

According to her, the document with the presidential veto will be returned to the Georgian parliament today.

"This law cannot be changed or improved, and therefore, a very simple veto - this law should be canceled," the Georgian president emphasized.

Story of the law on foreign agents is not over yet

The Georgian constitution provides for the right of the parliament to override the president's veto. And the ruling Georgian Dream party has enough votes to do so, SOVA news agency notes.

The Georgian parliament is expected to finally approve the scandalous law in mid-June. However, the Georgian constitution does not specify a timeframe for overriding a presidential veto.

What is wrong with the law on foreign agents in Georgia

In mid-May, the Georgian parliament, majority-held by the Georgian Dream party founded by pro-Russian oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili, passed a law on foreign agents in the third reading.

The law requires media outlets and non-governmental organizations that receive more than 20% of their annual income from abroad to register with the Ministry of Justice and obtain the status of a foreign agent. The opposition is concerned that this mechanism will allow the authorities to put pressure on dissidents, in particular before the country's parliamentary elections.

At the same time, the law has been criticized in the West, and there have been threats that its approval could lead to a halt in Georgia's integration into the EU and NATO.

Thousands of Georgians have protested against the controversial law, but there is no talk of a revolution in the country yet. Read more about the situation in Georgia in RBC-Ukraine's article.