Georgia signed controversial "foreign influence" legislation into law on Monday, prompting its pro-European opposition to vow far-reaching political reforms if they win October's elections.

The law, which critics say is modelled on Russian legislation used to stifle dissent, has triggered weeks of daily protests in the capital Tbilisi and condemnation from Georgia's Western partners.

Brussels has warned the move will derail the Black Sea nation from its path to European Union membership, and the United States has also threatened Georgian officials with individual travel bans.

Despite those warnings, the speaker of Georgia's parliament Shalva Papuashvili on Monday signed the measures into law -- the final approval stage after the chamber voted last week to override a veto lodged by President Salome Zurabishvili.


"I signed today the law on transparency of foreign influence, whose main goal is to strengthen the sustainability of Georgia's political, economic, and social systems," Papuashvili said in a statement.

The measures require NGOs and media outlets that receive at least a fifth of their funding from abroad to register within two months as "organisations pursuing the interests of a foreign power."

The plans sparked nearly two months of daily mass protests that saw police use tear gas and water cannon to disperse rallies, beating and arresting demonstrators.

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EU leaders stated that “the law adopted on transparency of foreign influence represents backsliding” on steps Georgia took to become an EU candidate country.

The measures have exposed and deepened divisions in Georgian society ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for October 26.

The vote is seen as a key test of Georgia's democracy more than 30 years after Tbilisi gained independence with the break-up of the Soviet Union.

On Monday, almost all of Georgia's opposition parties began signing up to a pro-European policy charter advanced by President Zurabishvili in a bid to create a united front ahead of the vote.

They agreed to pursue far-reaching electoral, judicial and law enforcement reforms through an interim multi-party government, should they win enough seats in parliament to command a majority.


Early elections would then be called next year, the groups agreed.

The plan would involve revoking the "foreign influence" law and several other pieces of legislation adopted by Georgian Dream which the opposition says are "detrimental to Georgia's European course."

Among the groups signing up to the pact was the country's main opposition force, jailed ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili's fervently pro-Western United National Movement.

"Georgian voters expect the opposition to show unity in the election run-up," Tina Bokuchava, one of its leaders, told AFP.

- 'Transparency' -

Dozens of Georgian NGOs have vowed to defy the "foreign influence" law and appeal to the country's constitutional court and the European Court of Human Rights.

Georgian Dream faces mounting accusations of leading the country away from its Western trajectory and back into Russia's orbit.

Those charges have intensified since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022 and with the passage of the "foreign influence" law.

The party says it is committed to Georgia's European aspirations and says the law will ensure "transparency" concerning Western-funded groups which it says undermine the country's sovereignty.


Georgian activists, independent journalists and opposition politicians have also accused the government of a concerted campaign of violence and threats against NGO leaders.

Georgia's EU bid is enshrined in the country's constitution and supported -- according to opinion polls -- by more than 80 percent of population.

Tbilisi was granted EU candidate status last year, but Brussels stressed the need for "meaningful and irreversible" reforms in areas such as the judiciary, the power of oligarchs and media freedoms.

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