Georgian ruling party plans reintroduction of controversial "foreign agent" bill

World  |
Editor : Yağız Efe Parmaksız
| Last update :

The Georgian Dream party plans to resubmit controversial bill similar to Russia's "foreign agent" law to parliament, aiming to ensure its approval in all three readings before end of current parliamentary term

Georgian ruling party plans reintroduction of controversial "foreign agent" bill

The Georgian Dream, the ruling party in Georgia, unexpectedly announced on Wednesday that it plans to bring back to parliament a contentious measure that is similar to Russia's "foreign agent" law. This action was taken a little more than a year after the party shelved the measure in response to widespread demonstrations in Tbilisi.

The party announced its intention to resubmit the draft legislation in a statement released on Wednesday. It stated that its goal is to ensure that the bill is approved in all three readings before the end of the current parliamentary term.

The European Union has criticized the draft measure, which aims to target foreign-funded media outlets, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and individual journalists. The bill is eerily similar to Russia's "foreign agent" statute, which is well-known for being used to suppress opposition.

The Georgian Dream asserts that the fundamental elements of the law have not changed, despite claiming to have modified the phrasing to "organization pursuing the interests of a foreign power" instead of "agent of foreign influence."

Connotations of treason and disobedience to the state date back to the Soviet era, when the phrase "foreign agent" first appeared.

Strong supporter of Georgia's pro-Western position, President Salome Zurabishvili, denounced the action, claiming it undermines the nation's democratic values and diverts it from its European goals.

Pro-democracy organizations who were key in coordinating the protests of the previous year have announced large-scale rallies against the bill's reinstatement in response to the news. They pledged in a unified declaration to fight any attempt to "russify" Georgia.

March 2023 saw confrontations between law enforcement and protestors against the bill, with officials using tear gas and water cannons to break up large gatherings of people.

It is expected that this development would deepen the fissures already present inside Georgia, with charges of democratic regression and alignment with Moscow's authoritarian inclinations being made against the government as Russia has already charged Western countries with causing widespread instability in Georgia.

Despite strong popular support for Georgia's membership in the EU, opponents of the Georgian Dream contend that its policies harm the country's relationships with the EU. Despite this, the party continues to support Georgia's ambitions to join the EU and NATO, citing constitutional duties.

Source: AFP

WARNING: Comments that contain insults, swearing, offensive sentences or allusions, attacks on beliefs, are not written with spelling rules, do not use Turkish characters and are written in capital letters are not approved.