YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—The Fifth National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia convened on Thursday, with the participation of 114 of the 131 members, the election of Hovik Abramyan as Speaker and the ruling Republican Party controlling eight of the 12 parliamentary committees.
Noticeably absent from the first session were representatives of the former President Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s Armenian National Congress and the Heritage Party. The latter will decided on future role in the legislature after the party’s general meeting on Saturday.
The inaugural session was attended by President Serzh Sarkisian and His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians.
Abrahamyan was elected by a vote of 104 to 4 while the committee chairs were selected, giving the Republican party eight committees and the Prosperous Armenia Party, which has opted out of the ruling coalition four committees. The ruling coalition partner Country of Law received no committee appointment.
The following Republican Party members were selected as chairpersons of committee: Artak Zakaryan, Committee of Foreign Relations; David Harutyunyan Committee on State and Legal Affairs; Koryun Nahapetyan Committee on Defense, National Security and Internal Affairs; Ara Babloyan, Committee on Health Care, Maternity and Childhood; Artak Davtyan, Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport; Hakob Hakobyan, Committee on Social Affairs; Gagik Minasyan, Committee on Financial-Credit and Budgetary Affairs; and Vardan Ayvazyan, Committee on Economic Affairs.
The following Prosperous Armenia Party members were selected as chairpersons of committees: Naira Zohrabyan, Committee on European Integration; Samvel Balasanyan, Committee on Agriculture and Environment; Stepan Margaryan, Committee on Territorial Management and Local Self-Government; and Elinar Vardanyan, Committee on Protection of Human Rights and Public Affairs.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation parliamentary bloc also unveiled its leadership. In the new parliament, Armen Rustamian will chair the bloc, while newly-elected member and former minister of social security Aghvan Vartanian was chosen as the bloc’s secretary.
The former chairman of the bloc, Vahan Hovannesian, stated that the decision for the change in the bloc was made by the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia and “I adhere to that decision.”
The other two members of the ARF bloc are returning parliament member, Artsvik Minasyan and newly-elected member Armen Babayan, the manager of the Grand Candy Company.
In commenting about the new legislature, Hovannesian said that the new parliament will be a “quagmire,” adding that “I don’t think this parliament will be of any use to the country.”
Hovannesian based his statements on his first impressions of the inaugural session. “If the majority feels comfortable in this situation, it is up to them,” he told Tert.am.
The ARF leader said that his bloc’s activities in the previous legislature set an example of what a true opposition should be. He also said that within parliament it will be possible to find like-minded colleagues or blocs, but ruled out an alliance in the future.
Sarkisian Dissolves Government
With the new parliament in session, President Sarkisian dissolved the current cabinet.
The proposal for the cabinet’s resignation was submitted to the president by Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan in accordance to Armenia’s Constitution, which calls for a new government after parliamentary elections.
Sarkisian has 10 days to name the new prime minister and nominate other new ministers. The current cabinet will continue in a caretaker role until then.