Speaker of Georgian Parliament signs controversial ‘foreign agents’ bill into law

Speaker of parliament Shalva Papuashvili. Photo: Shalva Papuashvili / X

Speaker of parliament Shalva Papuashvili. Photo: Shalva Papuashvili / X

The speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Shalva Papuashvil, announced at a press briefing that he had signed the country’s Transparency of Foreign Influence bill into law, Georgian TV channel Rustavi-2 reported on Monday.

The controversial legislation, which brought an estimated 100,000 protesters out onto the streets of the capital Tbilisi, was vetoed by Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili on 18 May after being passed with the support of the ruling Georgian Dream party’s parliamentary majority.

However, on 28 May, all 84 Georgian Dream deputies in parliament voted to override the veto. Under the country’s constitution, if the president refuses to sign a bill into law even after their veto has been overridden, the speaker of parliament is empowered to do so.

Papuashvili, whose signature brings the law into force with immediate effect. said the legislation would make Georgia more resistant to external interference in political, economic and social matters.

“If non-governmental organisations and the media want to be involved in decision-making processes affecting the lives of the Georgian people while receiving foreign funding, they have to meet minimum transparency standards. The people need to know who is behind each stakeholder,” Papuashvili said.

The law requires any non-governmental organisation receiving more than 20% of its funding from abroad to identify itself as an “agent of foreign influence”. Georgians opposed to the legislation have taken to calling it the “Russian law” as it mirrors a notorious 2012 Russian law that has since been used by the Kremlin as a tool to weaken civil society and silence independent media.

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