Georgian parliament overrides presidential veto of the divisive foreign influence bill

The Georgian parliament has made a controversial decision by overriding President Salome Zurabishvili’s veto of the divisive foreign influence bill. The bill, which aims to combat foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs, has caused a rift between the president and the parliament, with both sides standing firm in their beliefs.

The bill, which was initially passed by the parliament in June, gives the government the power to investigate and potentially ban non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and media outlets that are deemed to be receiving foreign funding and are considered to be promoting foreign interests. Proponents of the bill argue that it is necessary to protect Georgia’s sovereignty and national security from external influences, particularly from Russia.

President Zurabishvili, however, expressed concerns that the bill could be used to suppress dissent and limit freedom of speech in the country. She vetoed the bill last month, calling for amendments to be made to address these concerns. However, the parliament voted to override her veto, with 101 out of 150 lawmakers supporting the bill.

The decision has sparked protests from opposition parties and civil society groups, who argue that the bill is a threat to democracy and human rights in Georgia. They fear that the government could use the law to crack down on critics and independent voices in the country.

The international community has also expressed concerns about the bill, with the European Union and the United States calling on Georgia to uphold its democratic values and protect freedom of speech and association. The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association has also raised concerns about the potential impact of the bill on civil society in Georgia.

The decision to override the president’s veto is likely to deepen the political divide in Georgia and further polarize the country’s already fragmented political landscape. It remains to be seen how the government will implement the new law and whether it will be used to suppress dissent and limit freedom of speech in the country.

In the meantime, civil society groups and opposition parties are likely to continue to push back against the bill and call for its repeal. The future of democracy and human rights in Georgia hangs in the balance, as the country grapples with the implications of this controversial legislation.

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