Though Deputy Finance Minister Armen Alaverdyan stated that Armenia would continue to charge value added tax from individuals who import cars from the Eurasian Economic Union countries, on March 16 the National Assembly adopted in the second reading and completely the legislative amendments to end this practice.
The draft Election Code does not include proposals by the opposition and civil society. Particularly, the new document does not contain any provision on publishing signed voting lists, which the authors explain as a requirement of the RA Constitutional Court that considers publishing of voting lists as anti-constitutional. The opposition, though, insists that the decision of the Constitutional Court does not restrict the option of publishing voting lists.
Despite the fact that according to the accounting of Lori Regional Administration about 100 million AMD is necessary annually for solving the transportation of schoolchildren and teachers in the marz, only 278 thousand AMD is provided by the state budget for this purpose. The amount of the money has not changed during the last ten years and, in spite of real needs, the regional administration did not even try to demand more money from the Ministry of Finance when they submitted the annual budget. So the provided money is distributed among the four schools of the marz to solve the transportation problem of schoolchildren attending those schools only.
During the eighth session the Fifth Armenian Parliament adopted four times more laws at special parliamentary meetings than the lawmakers managed to adopt during the whole session. 90 out of 112 legislative amendments were adopted at special meetings, with lawmakers initiating only 8 /7%/ laws.
Though the new Election Code is to be drafted according to President Serzh Sargsyan’s decision and introduced to the Parliament no later than March 1, the opposition, civil society representatives and even experts know little about the provisions of the document.
Armenia needs a business ombudsman to improve the effective protection of the interests of business in the country. Besides, the NGOs defending the interests of business should activate the work with government bodies.
Human rights defenders refuse to agree with the official explanation for civic activist Vardges Gaspari’s detention. They describe the detention as “an illegal and unreasonable act” and Gaspari is detained for his political views.
The Armenian Government borrows a loan of USD 30 million to pay short-term loans of state electricity stations rather than to improve the energy industry in the country. As a result, the payment period is prolonged, with the Government increasing its gross debt.
Yerevan is losing its face as ancient buildings in the center of the city are being demolished. Demolition of buildings and ancient underground wine cellars on Pushkin, Abovyan and Aram streets, along with the construction of multifunctional buildings in these territories, damages not only the architectural view of Yerevan but also its attractiveness for tourism and wine industry. Representatives of tour operators and wine industry stated this at the Media Center conference held on 19 February.
The February 14 local elections in the consolidated communities in Tavush, Syunik and Lori regions are credible despite some minor violations. The Central Electoral Committee did not receive complaints.