Ruling party head says consultations in progress with European, US partners to “prevent funding unrest”

Irakli Kobakhidze, the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, on Thursday spoke about the domestic organisations which are being funded by foreign donors. Photo: Government press office, 02 Nov 2023 - 14:38, Tbilisi,Georgia

Irakli Kobakhidze, the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, on Thursday said consultations were in progress between the Government and the country’s European and American partners to “prevent funding extremism, polarised political environment and a revolution” in the country through foreign sources. 

Making a mention of the shelved foreign transparency bill - which called for registration of non-commercial legal entities and media outlets in the country as “agents of foreign influence” if they derived more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad and was retracted in March amid protests - the official claimed those opposing the bill did "not wish to make the information about their funding transparent". 

He further added the claims that dubbed the bill a “Russian law” that could pose threats to freedom of expression, and said funding of organisations subject to the amendment was transparent anyway, were “misleading”. 

About 95 percent of this information is closed to the public, which is worrying”, Kobakhidze said. 

He noted meetings held with partners "give us confidence that approaches will probably change at all levels, both central and local", and claimed the ruling power had "every reason to be optimistic" that "funding of extremism from foreign sources will not continue in the country, at least its volume will decrease qualitatively".

The lawmaker also claimed the European Endowment for Democracy, an independent grant-making organisation, was funding "a political party" in Georgia, an activity he said was banned by the law.