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Georgian parliament approves controversial law in second reading

Tbilisi, May 2 (Prensa Latina) The Parliament of Georgia approved the bill on foreign agents in second reading, reported the president of the legislative body, Shalva Papuashvili.

Papuashvili reported that the bill was approved in the second reading with 83 votes in favor and 23 against.

The plenary session was held amid protests against the law on foreign agents.

Rallies and protests broke out in Tbilisi after the ruling Georgian Dream party put the draft law on “transparency of foreign influence” back to vote. Parliament will then have to debate the bill in third reading.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobajidze previously commented that Parliament will vote on the draft law on foreign agents within two weeks.

The president of Georgia, Salomé Zurabishvili, declared foe her part that she will veto the law if Parliament approves it in third reading, but Parliament can easily overcome the presidential veto if it achieves a simple majority of the deputies present.

On March 7th of last year, the Georgian Parliament approved in first reading a bill that required non-governmental organizations, media outlets and other entities that receive at least 20 percent of its funds to register as “agents of foreign influence” percef its nt ofunds from abroad.

The initiative inflamed tempers in the country and gave rise to massive protests, with dozens of people injured and more than a hundred arrested. Three days later, Parliament voted overwhelmingly against the bill in its second reading.

The ruling Georgian Dream party reintroduced the initiative in Parliament last April 3rd. The text is the same as in 2023, but the term “agent of foreign influence” is replaced by “organization that promotes the interests of a foreign power.”