15 February, 2019 04:27

Armenia’s Five-Year Government Program Receives Heavy Criticism

By Ani Paitjan

Armenia’s National Assembly (parliament) adopted the draft government program for 2019 to 2023.

After four days of heated debate, 82 members of the National Assembly voted for the program, 37 against, and no one abstained.

Watch: First Session of Armenia's New Parliament

The two opposition parties of parliament, the Bright Armenia Party and Prosperous Armenia Party, criticized the program, arguing that it is inconsistent.

According to Naira Zohrabyan, head of the Prosperous Armenia Party and member of the National Assembly, the program presented by Nikol Pashinyan's government is not legitimate. She said it will not solve the socio-economic issues of the country. She noted that she believes Pashinyan’s My Step Alliance has legitimacy, and her criticism is only towards the government does not.

National Assembly Vice President Vahe Enfiajyan, who is also a member of the Prosperous Armenia Party, proposed supplementing the government’s program with a ninth chapter that will guarantees the implementation of the program, along with expected risks, and specific tools and mechanisms.

Edmon Marukyan, head of the Bright Armenia Party and member of the National Assembly, said that if the current National Assembly is democratic, then the majority party should have met with opposition parties to discuss the draft program.

Artsvik Minasyan, a representative of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, which does not hold any seats in the National Assembly, also criticized the program. Minasyan said he believes the bill lacks ideological grounds.

“The conclusion of the program ignores the non-parliamentary elements,” Minasyan said. “It seems as if these groups must not have any role in the governance of the country and that Armenia consists of only from the winning political parties and the others represented in the parliament.”

At the end of the parliamentary session, Nikol Pashinyan made a final speech, answering the questions and concerns of the members of parliament.

The second four-day session of the National Assembly will begin on March 5.

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