Parliament Overrides Presidential Veto on Surveillance Bill

The Parliament of Georgia overturned on March 22 with 86 votes against 22 the presidential veto on the new surveillance bill, which was approved by the Parliament in early March and which entails the establishment of a special agency for conducting surveillance operations.

The presidential objections, which were presented at yesterday’s session by the President’s Parliamentary Secretary Ana Dolidze, envisaged the transfer of the Operative-Technical Agency under the Prime Minister’s subordination, instead of the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia-proposed arrangement, which places the Agency as one of the units of the State Security Service.

Speaking at his news briefing on March 20, when he announced the presidential veto, President Margvelashvili said that the bill suffered from two shortcomings.

“The first one is related to [the agency’s] independence, which is not guaranteed by the bill and therefore, contradicts to the Constitutional Court’s decision. And the second is that the bill imposes unjustified and unpredictable financial burden on telecommunications service providers,” President Margvelashvili explained then.

At the plenary discussions, the presidential objections were denounced by the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia MPs as “politically motivated.”