Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili on Thursday asked Bazy Malaurie, the President of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, to suspend the body’s evaluation of the domestic bill on transparency of foreign influence, after the draft law was withdrawn by the ruling party earlier during the day.
In a letter sent to the CoE official Papuashvili cited “false narratives” having “misled” the country’s citizens about the intentions of the legislative piece and “reinforced confrontation”.
Describing the ruling party as a “responsible actor careful about peace, stability and prosperity” in the country, Papuashvili said the upcoming procedures in the Parliament would ensure the rejection of the bill.
Passed its first hearing at the lawmaking body earlier this week, the legislative piece called for 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.
Its discussions were accompanied by heated exchanges and clashes between MPs, as well as public rallies outside the Parliament in Tbilisi. Police said it had arrested 133 on Tuesday and Wednesday at the rallies for “violation of public order [and] rule of law”.
Mamuka Mdinaradze, the head of the ruling party in the Parliament, on Thursday said the bill would fail at the second hearing as prescribed by procedures for withdrawn legislation.
The European Union representation in Georgia and the bloc’s officials have welcomed the ruling party's recall of the bill, urging “all political actors” in the country to focus on the implementation of the 12-point conditions outlined by it in 2022 for granting the EU membership candidate status to Georgia later this year.