The Media Center hosted an event to discuss the results of the Parliament Monitoring Program for the Eighth Session of the National Assembly. The speakers included: Samvel Nikoyan, Republican Party Faction; Artsvik Minasyan, Minister of Economy; Aram Manukyan, Armenian National Congress Faction; Tevan Poghosyan, Heritage Party Faction; Hovhannes Margaryan, Rule of Law Faction; Lusine Vasilyan, Head of Parliament Monitoring Program; and Gor Abrahamyan, Expert at Parliament Monitoring Program.
The Parliament Monitoring Project is implemented by the Mandate NGO and funded by the Open Society Foundations-Armenia.
“This time we see that four times more laws were adopted during special sessions than during regular ones. This means that 90 out of 112 laws were adopted during special sessions,” said Head of the Parliament Monitoring Group Lusine Vasilyan.
Aram Manukyan believes “the National Assembly is in a worse condition than it used to be in the Soviet period with a single-party parliament.
“There were people like Sakharov and some other lawmakers who were able to drive Gorbachev in a tighter corner and embarrass him with their questions. A total of 70 MPs representing the ruling Republican Party voted 6,580 times, of which 6,577 were votes in favor of legislative initiatives. It cannot be called a parliament but rather an extension of the government,” said Manukyan.
In all countries governments are more active in drafting of laws than local parliaments, Samvel Nikoyan said.
“The parliamentary majority is the support for the Government, and it cannot act against the government it has formed. We had a case when most of the members left the faction almost overnight. Is that what you want it to be?”
Lusine Vasilyan said that 14 out of 18 agreements passed at the session were also adopted during special sessions. The vast majority of them are credit agreements of half a billion dollars.
Hovhannes Margaryan described the situation as “too negative practice”.
The most active faction in the parliament is the Rule of Law (its five members had 192 questions and speeches), with the Republicans having 171 questions and speeches and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation coming with the lowest level of activity (26 questions and speeches).
Nikol Pashinyan from the Armenian National Congress voted against most, whereas Artsvik Minasyan had the highest number of abstention votes. This time the most active lawmaker is Hovhannes Margaryan from the Rule of Law Faction. Gagik Tsarukyan, Hayk Khachatryan, Vardan Oskanyan, Karo Karapetyan (all from the Prosperous Armenia Faction), Ashot Aghababyan (RPA) are five MPs who missed more than half of the readings and votings during the Eighth session.
Arshaluys Mghdesyan, Editor/Coordinator