PM Accuses President of Blocking Dialogue by Vetoing Agents’ Law

During the government meeting on May 20, the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Kobakhidze reacted to the President’s May 18 veto of the Foreign Agents Bill, accusing President of “closing all space for healthy discussion.” According to him, “our offer to international partners was to use the veto procedure to reconcile positions, but Salome Zurabishvili blatantly vetoed the law…”

He reiterated claims that over 60 percent of Georgians support the law, while saying that more than 80 percent of the citizens are in favor of transparency of the NGOs. Among others, in this context, he lashed out at the opposition, accusing them of avoiding discussions and lamented that his invitation to the diplomats accredited in Georgia to participate in public discussions was not reciprocated.

Kobakhidze also claimed the opposition is striving for the “Ukrainization of Georgia.” “In the midst of the war in Ukraine, politicians and officials are enriching themselves and corruption is flourishing. Elections, political pluralism, freedom of the media, everything related to the will of democracy in general have been abolished [in Ukraine], and this is what the representatives of the collective United National Movement envy…”

In addition to discussing the adverse effects of Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine, he also talked about the government’s record in tackling unemployment and accused the UNM of being a “hate party”.

PM devoted a significant part of his introductory remarks to discussing the government’s decision to subsidize flights from Georgia to Germany during the upcoming European Championship matches, in which Georgia will participate for the first time. He also promised to adjust flight times for fans to accommodate possible dates of scheduled matches.

The Prime Minister of Georgia has also has announced that the payment for the Georgian football team participating in the championship will be increased from the planned 850 thousand GEL to 3 million GEL.

President Salome Zurabishvili said on May 18 that she had vetoed the law on foreign agents, adding that that this law “in its essence and spirit is a Russian law that contradicts our Constitution and all European standards, and therefore it’s an obstacle to our European path. The move came earlier than expected and before the president’s two-week veto deadline. She had earlier said on several occasions that she is “not going to enter into games” with the Georgian Dream over the Foreign Agents law and that any attempts to embellish it are futile.

The majority needs 76 votes and controls 84 MPs. The parliamentary spring session will go into recess on June 28 till September. The key question now is whether GD will decide to overcome the veto or shelve the law till September.

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