Georgian parliament approves divisive 'foreign agents' bill after final reading

The Georgian parliament on Tuesday approved in the third and final reading a divisive bill that sparked weeks of mass protests, with critics seeing it as a threat to democratic freedoms and the country’s aspirations to join the European Union.

The bill requires media and nongovernmental organizations and other nonprofits to register as “pursuing the interests of a foreign power” if they receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad.

The government says the bill is necessary to stem what it deems as harmful foreign influence over the country’s politics and to prevent unspecified foreign actors from trying to destabilize it.

The opposition has denounced the bill as “the Russian law,” because Moscow uses similar legislation to crack down on independent news media, nonprofits and activists critical of the Kremlin.

Mass protests against the law in recent weeks have swept the South Caucasus nation of 3.7 million.

Read moreProtests erupt as Georgia moves forward with Russian-style 'foreign agents' bill

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili, who is increasingly at odds with the governing party, has vowed to veto the law, but Georgian Dream has a majority sufficient to override a presidential veto.

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