By Ani Paitjan
Armenia’s new parliament held its first session on January 14-15, during which members elected Ararat Mirzoyan (My Step Alliance) as president of the National Assembly (parliament). Following a heated discussion between the parties, Lena Nazaryan (My Step Alliance), Alen Simonyan (My Step Alliance), and Vahe Enfiajyan (Prosperous Armenia Party) were elected as vice presidents of parliament.
According to the constitution, at least one of the vice presidents must be from the non-majority party.
Lena Nazaryan and Alen Simonyan were nominated by the majority My Step Alliance. There were two nominations for the for the third seat – Vahe Enfiajyan from Prosperous Armenia Party and Mane Tandilyan from Bright Armenia Party.
Lena Nazaryan got 124 for, 3 against; Alen Simonyan got 109 for, 20 against; and Vahe Enfiajyan got 108 votes for; while his opponent from Bright Armenia Party, Mane Tandilyan got 19 votes for.
As a board member of the Civil Contract Party (Nikol Pashinyan’s former faction), Nazaryan ran under the Way Out Alliance (Yelk) during the 2017 parliamentary election and was elected. On April 13, she joined Ararat Mirzoyan in lighting smoke flares in the parliament to call attention to the protests against the transition of Serzh Sargsyan from President to Prime Minister, on April 11, 2018. The protests, which became known as the Velvet Revolution, resulted in Sargsyan’s resignation.
Simonyan was also a member of Armenia’s Parliament and former member of the Yerevan City Council.
Enfiajyan is a Prosperous Armenia Party member, elected into parliament in 2009. The party is led by the tycoon Gagik Tsarukyan. Vahe Enfiajyan and his party were recently accused of having used 390 fake accounts on Facebook during the election campaign to create an impression of having a high level of support online.
Read More: A Look at Armenia’s Elections, What’s Next?
For the first time since the 1990s, the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia, as well as the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, have been voted out of parliament.
Composed of 132 members, this new parliament is represented by three political parties following snap parliamentary elections that took place on December 9, 2019.
My Step Alliance led by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan got 70.42 percent of the vote, securing 88 seats. The My Step Alliance holds the majority of the seats. The Prosperous Armenia Party led by businessman Gagik Tsarukyan received 8.26 percent and got 26 seats. The Bright Armenia Party led by Edmon Marukyan received 6.37 percent of the vote, securing 18 seats in parliament.