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Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili vetoes controversial Foreign Influence Law

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili issued a largely symbolic veto against the controversial “foreign influence” law, which has ignited unprecedented protests and drawn warnings from Brussels about its potential to derail Tbilisi’s EU aspirations.

This week, lawmakers from the ruling Georgian Dream party passed the legislation despite strong opposition from protesters, who fear the ex-Soviet republic is drifting from its pro-Western trajectory towards closer ties with Russia.

The move has triggered protests of a scale not seen in the recent history of the Black Sea nation.

Opinion polls indicate that over 80% of the population supports joining the European Union and NATO, maintaining a firm stance against the Kremlin.

“Today I vetoed the law, which is essentially Russian and contradicts our constitution,” Zurabishvili stated in a televised address, referring to the bill that critics argue mirrors Russian laws used to suppress dissent.

Brussels has declared the measure “incompatible” with Georgia’s EU membership bid, which is enshrined in the country’s constitution.

European Council chief Charles Michel commented on X, formerly Twitter, that the veto provides “a moment for further reflection.” He urged lawmakers to “make good use of this window of opportunity” to keep Georgia aligned with its EU ambitions.

Georgian Dream holds a parliamentary majority sufficient to override the veto.

Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze has indicated the party’s willingness to consider Zurabishvili’s suggested amendments to the law if she includes them in her veto documentation.

However, the president, who has clashed with the ruling party, has dismissed the possibility of engaging in “false, artificial, misleading negotiations” with Georgian Dream.

The bill mandates that NGOs and media outlets receiving more than 20% of their funding from abroad register as entities “pursuing the interests of a foreign power.”

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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