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President Draws GD Ire for Vetoing Surveillance Bill

Ruling Georgian Dream party lawmakers have criticized President Salome Zurabishvili for vetoing a controversial surveillance bill on June 22.

Georgian Dream MP, Vice Speaker Archil Talakvadze slammed the President for applying the veto not “because of any specific remarks or critical arguments but as a political gesture.”

“If no substantive arguments and remarks are presented with the veto regarding the law itself, we will vote to overcome the veto,” he promised.

MP Talakvadze also claimed that the law was adopted with “broad consultation” and that it was needed for the “security of Georgia and of our society.”

Another GD MP Irakli Zarkua said the veto was “confusing” because the President herself admitted that it was a “political decision,” rather than one based on a legislative arguments.

The law in question was criticized by both the European Union as well as local civil society organizations, who had urged the President to apply a veto, for its implications on the right to privacy.

Announcing the decision, President Zurabishvili said her veto — the first one since she took the office in 2018 — should be seen as her dissent with the bill that restricts human rights.

Recognizant that the Georgian Dream lawmakers will override the veto, she pledged to nevertheless veto any controversial bill in the coming six months — hinting at a timeframe Georgian Dream Government has to meet EU conditions to secure the candidate status in the 27-member bloc.

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