Georgian parliament overrides presidential veto of divisive foreign influence bill

A man waves a Georgian national flag in front of a burning barricade, not far from the Georgian parliament building in Tbilisi, Georgia, March 9, 2023. (Zurab Tsertsvadze/AP)
A man waves a Georgian national flag in front of a burning barricade, not far from the Georgian parliament building in Tbilisi, Georgia, March 9, 2023. (Zurab Tsertsvadze/AP)

The Georgian parliament overrides a presidential veto of the “foreign agents” legislation that has fueled Western concerns and sparked massive protests for weeks.

The legislature, controlled by the ruling Georgian Dream party, dismisses Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili’s veto of the legislation that she and other critics say will restrict media freedom and obstruct Georgia’s chances of joining the European Union.

The president now has five days to endorse the bill. If she doesn’t do so, the parliament speaker will sign it into law.

The bill that was approved by the parliament earlier this month requires media, nongovernmental organizations and other nonprofit groups to register as “pursuing the interests of a foreign power” if they receive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad.

Zourabichvili, who is increasingly at odds with the governing party, vetoed the bill on May 18. She has accused the governing party of jeopardizing the country’s future and “hindering the path toward becoming a full member of the free and democratic world.”

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