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Armenia faces an aggravated political crisis

25 February 2015 17:20 (UTC+04:00)
Armenia faces an aggravated political crisis

By Mushvig Mehdiyev

After Armenia's first parliament session on Monday was boycotted by the opposition party Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) led by embattled tycoon Gagik Tsarukian, Armenia has found itself facing an aggravated political crisis.

“Considering the unprecedented internal political situation created in Armenia, the PAP parliamentary faction declares that it will boycott the current four-day session,” Naira Zohrabian said on Monday.

“In the next few days the PAP will come up with clear explanations and will present its steps and strategy to the public and its partners," she added.

Lawmakers turned down parliamentarian Nikol Pashinyan’s initiative to impeach President Serzh Sargsyan. The proposal gained no major support in the chamber, with only four members voting to support it, while a majority of 68 parliament members, mostly from the ruling RP, voted against it.

Despite Pashinyan's calls that the bill features publicly known facts which serve as a base to otherwise unverified reports relating to dark aspects of Sargsyan’s activities, Armenia's legislative body did not overstep its loyalty toward the president.

Following the annulment of the initiative, Heritage faction member Zaruhi Postanjyan warned Sargsyan’s resignation will happen sooner or later.

"It is desirable that it takes place not through a painful procedure, but through a legal procedure," she added.

The recent brawl between Armenia's rulers and opposition forces has shed a light onto the country's deepening political crisis.

Even former President Robert Kocharyan appeared at the political battlefield with his obvious support to opposition leader Gagik Tsarukyan.

To handle the opposition, the authorities reverted to their usual "containment" methods, mainly the neutralization of Tsarukyan. The opposition leader was first deprived of a mandate at a high-level state body and then an audit inspection was ordered into his business.

Parliament also focused on a draft resolution on governance that was put on the agenda earlier last October under the initiative of one-third of MPs. Levon Zurabyan, opposition Armenian National Congress faction leader, said the latest regime-opposition standoff only serves to reflect the country's deep crisis and political fracture, laying bare the issue of governance.

Pashinyan, criticized the draft resolution, accusing the opposition of solely focusing on power change rather than turning them into actions.

Meanwhile, Edmond Marukyan, an MP, who is not officially linked to any faction in parliament, called for a change of the political guard.

"There is a need for an alternative vision, since the current opposition is also part of the crisis which has hit our political system," he noted.

Boycotter of the parliamentary session, the Prosperous Armenia Party, revealed its plans to hold an extraordinary congress in early March.

Mikayel Melkumyan, an MP from the PAP, said that congress, which is scheduled for March 5, will discuss the issue of electing a new head of the party, since Tsarukyan is expected to be the party's honorary chairman.

As a result of the government's crackdown on Tsarukyan and further reconciliation between him and Sargsyan, the opposition leader found himself in disgrace and decided to leave politics, confirmed local media reports.

Tsarukyan's Kentron TV channel will reportedly hand over power to a new owner, said the media. The new owners of the TV channel will remodel it into the Eurasian Economic Union TV channel in Armenia.

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