Parliament Descends Into Chaos As Law Makers Exchange Fists With One Another

( The parliament for the country of Georgia was in disorder on April 15 as a George Dream party leader was punched in the face. Mamuka Mdinaradze was punched by MP Aleko Elisashvili while a discussion was occurring in the chamber regarding a contentious law about foreign agents.

Mdinaradze is one of the key leaders advocating for the potential law. Legislators jumped up from the two different sides and started punching each other. After the proceeding ended and Elisashvili exited the building, he was cheered by protestors outside. He later indicated that passage of the law would cause Georgia citizens to become “slaves.”

The bill has been compared to something that would be drafted by Russia’s President Vladamir Putin. The potential law states that all media and non-commercial entities that receive over 20% of their funds from foreign investors need to register as having foreign influence. Otherwise, the organization will be required to pay fines.

The Dream party attempted to pass a similar measure a year ago, but withdrew the proposal after public pressure and protests ensued. The party behind the legislation believes the law is needed to prevent the influence of “pseudo-liberal values,” which are pushed by outsiders.

Those who oppose the bill say that it will make it more difficult to be accepted into the European Union. Proposals like the foreign influence bill are viewed as strengthening connections with Russia. Despite that, members of the Dream party indicate their desire to join the European Union and NATO.

Peter Stano, spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy, has indicated that the bill contradicts the values of the European Union. In his statement, Stano said “media freedom is at the core of democracy.” He also said that it is an important value system that countries need to uphold in order to join the EU.

A representative for President Salome Zourabichvili said the president would veto the law if it was passed. However, the president’s term ends this year. New constitutional rules require the predecessor to be chosen by an electoral college, which includes everyone in parliament.

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