Georgian Dream, the ruling party of Georgia, withdrew a bill on “foreign agents” after violent protests. The bill required Georgian organizations that receive over 20% of their funding from foreign sources to register as “foreign agents” or face fines.
Opponents of the bill saw it as a Russian-inspired authoritarian shift, which could harm Georgia’s prospects of joining the European Union. The opposition has demanded that the government formally denounce the bill and release all those detained during the protests. The bill defined “foreign powers” as foreign government agencies, foreign citizens, legal entities not established under Georgian legislation, and more.
The EU has praised the withdrawal of the bill and encouraged pro-EU reforms to resume in an inclusive and constructive way. The ruling party has long been criticized by Georgia’s opposition for what it views as an undue closeness to Moscow.
After a flurry of public demonstrations against Putin’s re-election as president, a ban restricting foreign agents in Russia was passed in 2012. Organizations that engage in political activities and receive funds from overseas were obliged by law to register as foreign agents.
According to recent news, Georgia has dropped a controversial foreign agent. The bill was introduced by the ruling Georgian Dream party, and it quickly drew criticism. The decision to drop the bill comes at a critical time for Georgia, which is set to hold parliamentary elections in 2024. The ruling Georgian Dream party is facing a strong challenge from opposition parties, and the move to drop the controversial foreign agent bill could help to ease tensions ahead of the vote.
Georgia’s ruling party said on Thursday it was withdrawing a bill on “foreign agents” after two nights of violent protests over what opponents claimed was a Russian-inspired authoritarian move that threatened aspirations of the country joining the European Union.
The ruling party, named Georgian Dream, said in a statement it would “unconditionally withdraw the bill we supported without any reservations”. But protest organizers said that they would pick up again at 7 o’clock (1500 GMT). The Droa party, according to Giga Lemonjava, demanded that the government formally reject the law and free all individuals jailed during the rallies.