People’s Power Unveils Plans to Register Alternative Bill on Foreign Agents

After the draft law on foreign agents initiated by People’s Power provoked strong local and international criticism, the MPs who left “Georgian Dream” but remain in the parliamentary majority, announced at a press conference on February 21 that they would “directly” translate the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act and register it in the Parliament within a few days.

MP Dimitri Khundadze explained that from the very beginning, they planned to introduce an analog of the American law, but “Georgian Dream” offered them to develop a more liberal version.

Khundadze also claimed that they had already done so and submitted a more liberal bill to the Parliament. “Although the committee hearings have not yet started, an active, hysterical speculation has been launched around it, as if it were an analogue of the Russian law.”

“There is no ban in the liberal Georgian version of the bill that we initiated and these fears and speculations are absolutely groundless,” Khundadze said, adding that they would submit “a fully American version” to avoid speculation and offer more choices.

“Apart the fact that Georgian Dream will support the bill, I am sure that our opponents will have no reason for speculations and will also support it,” he stressed.

Representatives of the People’s Power faction said on February 14 that that they had drafted a bill on the activities of foreign-funded organizations, according to which an organization that receives more than 20% of its income from foreign sources should be registered in the register of agents of foreign influence.

The law entitled “On Transparency of Foreign Influence” was strongly criticized by some local civil society organizations and media representatives. Georgia’s international partners also urged the government not to adopt the amendments, which “would silence an independent voice” of Georgian citizens. President Salome Zurabishvili also criticized the initiative, saying that “the President of Georgia cannot support such legislation and persecution of new agents.” The ruling party, however, expressed its readiness to vote for the draft law, noting that the ruling party’s parliamentary faction had “agreed at the level of principles” to support the bill, but “certainly the details are still being discussed”.

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