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The Daily Beat: 4 April

With 85 votes in favor and 22 against, the Parliament abolished the mandatory gender quotas in an accelerated manner. Before this decision, the Electoral Code required that at least one out of every four persons on a party list must be a woman. This amendment follows an agreement between the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party and Girchi, under which the ruling party backed Girchi’s initiative to abolish quotas in exchange for Girchi’s support for the GD candidate for the Central Electoral Commission Chairperson.

Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, defended the reintroduction of the Foreign Agents Law by the parliamentary majority in Georgia, saying that “no sovereign state wants interference from other countries in domestic politics. This is normal practice.” “We see a rather acute and sharp reaction of the opposition to such plans. But probably, there is a need to explain to them the absurdity of these attempts to portray it as a Russian project,” Peskov said.

The European Union issued a statement reacting to the reintroduction of the Foreign Agents law, noting that “the announcement by the ruling party in Georgia to re-introduce a draft law on “Transparency of Foreign Influence” raises serious concerns.” The statement says that “the EU regrets that it is once again being considered despite strong public and international reactions in March 2023,” encouraging the Georgian authorities to implement reforms necessary for joining the EU.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also denounced the reintroduction of the Foreign Agents Law, saying, “This will contradict the whole effort of strengthening the democratic institutions of Georgia,” undermining “the whole idea of making Georgia a strong democratic society.” The Secretary-General also called on the Georgian authorities to work on reforms to move closer to NATO and the EU.

U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chair of the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, released a statement on a GD-proposed Russian-style Foreign Agents Law saying that “not only would this draft law lead the political process in the wrong direction, but it would harm Georgia’s transatlantic integration and its future in the European Union,” further urging the parliament to reject this proposal.

The National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF GNP) terminated the Memorandum of Cooperation with the Parliament in response to the ruling party’s decision to reintroduce the Foreign Agents Law. In the statement issued by the Platform, almost 200 Georgian organizations emphasize that they feel insulted by the ruling party after it broke its promise made last year not to reintroduce the draft law on foreign agents, stating that “the reintroduction of the draft law by the ruling team is incompatible with the state interests, culture and Georgian traditions.”

The Georgian Foreign Minister, Ilia Darchiashvili, is on his first official visit to Paraguay. This is the first visit by a Georgian Foreign Minister to Paraguay since establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2010. He has already met with his counterpart, Rubén Ramírez Lezcano, President Santiago Peña, and the Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, Raúl Luis Latorre Martínez.


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