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.
The number of registered job seekers in Shirak Region has surged from 9000 to 15.400 in a year. In the meantime, the Government’s employment programs continue their activities in the region, with positive results being observed: within the last year’s programs by the Employment State Agency 563 people in Gyumri found jobs while 254 people were involved in the seasonal programs. These numbers in total, however, make 5.30 percent of all registered job seekers in the region.
The Media Center hosted a press conference on the cases of non-combat deaths in the Armenian Army and their investigation. The press conference featured Avetik Ishkhanyan from Helsinki Citizens’ Committee and mothers of deceased soldiers Valerik Muradyan and Artur Ghazaryan- Nana Muradyan and Inga Ghazaryan.
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.
Levon Barseghyan from Asparez Journalists’ Club, Gyumri shared thoughts on the political situation in the country, civil society issues, Pemyakov’s trial, general elections and escalation along the Azerbaijani border.
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.