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Parliament Adopts Draft Law 'On transparency of Foreign Influence' at First Hearing Originally Scheduled for March 9

By Liza Mchedlidze
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
The Parliament of Georgia supported the draft law 'Agents of Foreign Influence' at the first hearing. 76 MPs voted in favor of the draft law, and 13 voted against it. The hearing was originally scheduled for March 9, however, at the plenary session on March 7th, the decision was changed, and as a large part of the opposition had left the session hall, the session started without a break.

During the discussion of the project, legislative violence between the MPs broke out.

The second draft law on agents initiated by 'People's Power' "On the registration of foreign agents" was not discussed at the session of the Parliament.

After the parliament's decision to reschedule the hearing became public, the citizens announced the rally and gathered in front of the parliament. At the rally, the citizens learned about the adoption of the bill in the first hearing.

The draft law "On the transparency of foreign influence" was presented by the members of the "People's Power" party who formally left 'Georgian Dream': Sozar Subari, Dimitri Khundadze, Mikheil Kavelashvili, Guram Macharashvili, Dachi Beraia, Victor Japaridze, Eka Sepashvili, Davit Kacharava and Zaal Mikeladze.

In order to "ensure transparency", the said draft law envisages the registration of such non-entrepreneurial (non-commercial) legal entities and media outlets, whose income (more than 20%) is received from abroad, as agents of foreign influence.

According to the draft law, everyone who is considered to be an "agent of foreign influence" must be registered in the public registry in a database with the same name. At the time of registration, it will be necessary to reflect the received income. At the same time, the organizations will have the obligation to fill in the financial declaration every year.

The draft law "To identify agents of foreign influence" empowers the Ministry of Justice to conduct research and study-monitoring of the issue at any time.

Avoiding registration as an agent of foreign influence or not filling out the declaration will result in the organization being fined 25 thousand GEL.