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Domestic Reactions to Adoption of Foreign Agents Law

Georgia’s ruling party adopted the controversial Foreign Agents Law in its third and final reading on May 14 by 84 votes to 30, amid widespread local protests and despite fierce opposition from the West. The first reaction of opposition parties and MPs was to announce a boycott of parliamentary work.

Civil.ge collected the first comments from across the Georgian political spectrum after the law was passed:

Ruling Majority

Archil Talakvadze, Georgian Dream: “Why did we adopt this law? Around the world, democracies, elections and political systems often become the target of external interference. This is confirmed by the latest EU report, published in December, which states that eight out of ten EU citizens believe that interference in a democratic system or election is a problem in their own country…If the European Union needs these protection mechanisms, Georgia needs them as well. That is why we have introduced the initiative…Today, the Georgian Parliament has actually adopted the law necessary for the protection of democracy, elections and political stability of our country…Transparency cannot be anti-European. We see that the radical opposition, which was in power before, is trying and waiting to somehow use the protests of the youth and the emotions of the citizens to attempt to return to power by bypassing the elections…”

Anri Okhanashvili, Georgian Dream: “The main goal of this bill is to strengthen the sovereignty of our country, the funds coming into our country to be transparent to society- for what purpose they come, how they are spent and what purposes they serve. How can there be an alternative to transparency, how can anyone say that he or she does not like transparency?

Guram Macharashvili, People’s Power: “With the adoption of this law, we have put an end to the use of foreign black money in Georgian politics, which is a crime, as well as to the use of black money in the NGO sector. Therefore, the importance of this law is much more than just transparency, because of course, transparency is the most important goal, although security is the most important, which conditions the sovereignty of the country, and I assure everyone that our partners as well as our friendly countries will have a better view of Georgia, because Georgia has done it and has formed itself as a sovereign country.”

Opposition

Teona Akubardia, Parliamentary faction Reforms Group: “For the third time, the Georgian Dream [parliamentary] majority and two MPs of the European Socialists have endorsed the law that erodes the sovereignty of this country in favor of the Kremlin, poses more threats to the territorial integrity of this country, ends our NATO and EU membership [bids] and turns our democracy into authoritarianism…This is a task that Ivanishvili had set for all MPs and of course we will continue to resist and fight.”

Khatia Dekanoidze, Parliamentary faction Euro-optimists: “I told them and I will repeat that of course there will be international sanctions, but the biggest stamp on them has been put by the youth. The Georgian Dream, those 84 people who endorsed the Russian law today, are putting at risk the European integration process of Georgia, the visa-liberalization and the [EU] candidacy. Therefore, everyone should understand that they can hurt us, every one of us, but this violence should not break any Georgian citizen. I call on everyone to come out and protest.”

Beka Liluashvili, For Georgia: “In the last few days we have seen that the law has actually [already] been put into effect; they have declared society, citizens as traitors, carriers of foreign interests, spies, all this is lustration. With the third reading, Georgian Dream has officially kicked off [the process of] ending its power.”

Levan Bezhashvili, United National Movement (UNM): “With the adoption of this law, Georgian Dream has practically taken the country away from us and handed it over to Russia. The Russian regime has been formalized. Now [merely] the issue of Russian law is no longer important, but with this law they have formalized the Russian regime. Therefore, the protest of the society will be even stronger, the reaction of our partner will be even harsher and tougher.”

Ana Natsvlishvili, Lelo for Georgia: “Today, Georgian Dream has finally formalized what we have been talking about for years. Georgian Dream is a Russian power whose only goal is to serve the Russian interests of Bidzina Ivanishvili. Our country remembers many historical days and the beginnings of many victories. All victories are preceded by the self-lustration of the country’s traitors, and this is exactly what happened today. Georgian Dream said that it’s not on the side of the Georgian people and serves the occupying Russia… Today, while all the red lines have been crossed, when the constitution of the country was openly violated in the legislative body, “Lelo” decided to announce a boycott and no longer participate in the work of the parliament. Georgian Dream lost in the Parliament, it went beyond the political process, violated the Constitution and represents the usurper Ivanishvili and Putin. Their only tool is violence.”

More to Follow…

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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