Georgia’s President Vetoes Foreign Influence Law

Georgia’s President, Salome Zourabichvili, has vetoed a controversial law that would have restricted foreign influence in the country. The law, which was passed by the Georgian Parliament in July, aimed to limit the influence of foreign-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Georgia.

The law would have required NGOs that receive more than half of their funding from abroad to register as “foreign agents” and disclose their sources of funding. It also would have given the government the power to shut down NGOs that were deemed to be acting against the interests of the state.

President Zourabichvili’s decision to veto the law comes after widespread criticism from human rights groups and the international community. Critics argued that the law would have severely restricted the work of NGOs in Georgia, which play a vital role in promoting human rights, democracy, and civil society in the country.

In a statement announcing her decision to veto the law, President Zourabichvili said that she believed the law was “unconstitutional” and “incompatible with Georgia’s international obligations.” She also expressed concern that the law could damage Georgia’s reputation as a democratic country.

The President’s decision to veto the law has been welcomed by human rights groups and the international community. Human Rights Watch, a prominent NGO, praised President Zourabichvili for standing up for the rights of civil society in Georgia.

The controversy over the foreign influence law highlights the delicate balance that many countries face in managing the influence of foreign actors in their domestic affairs. While it is important to protect national sovereignty and prevent undue foreign interference, it is also crucial to uphold the rights of civil society and promote democratic values.

President Zourabichvili’s veto of the foreign influence law sends a clear message that Georgia is committed to upholding democratic principles and protecting the rights of NGOs to operate freely in the country. It is a positive step towards strengthening Georgia’s democratic institutions and ensuring that civil society can continue to play a vital role in the country’s development.