Armenian Consumers’ Association Calls for City Council Dismissal

The Armenian Consumers' Association says Yerevan city council members should step down from office

YEREVAN (Arka)—Armen Poghosyan, head of the Armenian Consumers’ Association, is convinced that it will be reasonable to dissolve the Yerevan city council.

Speaking Wednesday at a news conference, Poghosyan said that the majority of the council members took a passive stance on the increase of public transport fares in Yerevan instead of discussing the matter and voicing their opinions.

At the same time, Poghosyan rated highly the activities of the Barev Yerevan bloc and the Prosperous Armenia party in the council.

“Some activities were seen on their side, but, taking into account that the overwhelming majority of the council members displayed indifference, we are insisting on dismissal of this council and election of another one,” he said adding that the new elections should be held as soon as possible lest civil activity in Armenia fade.

This price hike has triggered public backlash in Yerevan. Protests were being staged here with slogans like “We Refuse to Pay 150 Drams!” Celebrities, political activists, and journalists launched a protest campaign called Free Car. They and other car owners carried people from remote areas of the city to downtown and back in their cars for free.

As a result, Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan has withdrawn his decision and said that the municipality will set a special commission for dealing with the problem.

Armenia’s Consumers’ Association suggests creating a transportation corporation owned by shareholders, in order to facilitate better regulations, head of the Association, Armen Poghosyan, told reporters Wednesday.

Today there are 67 economic entities involved in the field and profit is not evenly distributed, Poghosyan said, adding that the new stock company will be owned both by the Yerevan municipality (about 50%) and transport operating companies (the remaining 50% of the stock). He also said that every resident of the capital can obtain shares and wait for dividends from this company.

“This system is not something new: it is currently used in several cities, including Berlin and Budapest”, Poghosyan said.

According to the head of the NGO, such a system will prevent some route owners from getting superprofits and will ensure transparency in the sector.

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