“Radical” opponents used “sensitive topic of occupation” to “mislead” public over transparency bill - PM

  • The Georgian PM on Sunday responded to controversies over the transparency bill. Photo: Government press office

Agenda.ge, 12 Mar 2023 - 21:35, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Sunday said the Government's opponents had used a “sensitive topic” of Russian occupation to “mislead” the public over the controversial transparency bill that was rejected by the Parliament this week amid protests. 

In his interview with Imedi TV, the head of the Government stressed the bill had been “misinterpreted” as a “Russian law” by the “radical wing” of the domestic opposition, with the  statements having been made by the country’s “foreign partners, colleagues and Ambassadors” had “further encouraged the [negative] approach and controversies” to the legislative piece, and “confused” the part of the public. 

The process and efforts seemed very coordinated”, Garibashvili said. 

The PM noted two transparency bills had been submitted to the legislative body, with one of them “copying the American version” of the related law. 

The Georgian model [that was approved by the Parliament with its first reading this week] has been labelled as a Russian law…You know how sensitive we Georgians are to such matters on the background of the Russian occupation [of Georgian territories]. [...] and this issue, of course, has raised a lot of question marks. In addition to that, the statements being made by the country’s foreign partners, colleagues and Ambassadors have further confused the part of the public.  [We have witnessed] very coordinated actions and efforts”, Garibashvili said. 

The PM highlighted the ruling party’s decision on Thursday to recall the bill, which involved registration of non-commercial legal entities and media outlets in the country as “agents of foreign influence” if they derive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad, was the “most correct and reasonable decision that situation, dictated by state interests”

The withdrawal of the draft law in the given circumstances was the most prudent and wise decision in the context of statehood, as we on the one hand demonstrated that nobody will ever be given a chance of destabilisations and on the other hand we said that we were aware of their [the part of the opposition's] very offensive plans", Garibashvili said, noting the plans included  the maintenance of "unrest and chaos" in the country. 

He claimed the domestic “radical forces” were also capable of “killing several young demonstrators” during the rallies to further complicate tension. 

The PM noted after forwarding the bills to the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe to obtain the body's legal opinion, public discussions could take about three to four months about those initiatives before their final vote. 

The Georgian Parliament on Friday formally retracted the draft law, following the decision by the ruling Georgian Dream party to withdraw it.