Parliament Groups and Factions Comment on Cabinet Program

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The National Assembly completed discussion of the cabinet’s proposed program late Tuesday.

Representatives of parliament factions and deputy groups voiced their viewpoints.

According to Baruyr Hairikian–Chairman of the Self-Determination Union–the program lacked measures aimed at developing democracy–helping political parties. Hairikian said this was due to the fact that Prime Minister Armen Darbinian does not realize the importance of these issues–as he is not a politician. According to Hairikian–the government’s formation on the principle of professionalism and its depolitization is not timely today. He viewed Darbinian’s cabinet as an interim government–because after the parliamentary election in 1999 the newly formed parliament may review its approach to the government program. Hairikian felt that there is uncertainty in the sphere of foreign policy. However–according to him–the mentioned shortcomings cannot be reason for the SDU faction to vote against the government’s program.

According to the NDU–this program was almost the same as the previous ones and bore a declarative nature. Davit Vardanian also drew attention to the shortcomings of the program–particularly noting that it lacked decisions aimed at not only developing–but also maintaining industry and agriculture. As well–he said the program did not consider the issue of state support and promotion of small and medium-sized business. NDU said that since 1991 "our society has been sick."

According to the Shamiram faction–the program set boundaries. Amalya Petrosian called attention to the formation of a barrier between the power and the people–as well as to the necessity to searching for ways to overcome that barrier.

The Republic faction considered the program a political document. According to faction leader Babken Ararktsian–the program is of declarative nature. According to him–it would be normal if the program was presented by an absolutely new government–while the key spheres are still led by members of the previous cabinet. According to him–the sphere of internal policy remained practically unchanged and it is admissible for the Republic faction. Other spheres warranted numerous questions.

Among them he mentioned domestic and foreign policy–a necessity to strengthen Armenia’s role in the world and the resolution of the Karabakh problem. Ararktsian said that the program was declarative and amorphous and the faction was not confident if the government is able to execute the provisions of the program.

According to the Yerkrapah deputy group–the program defined what needed to be done but not did not provide the mechanisms to do so. Nevertheless–Hermine Naghdalian said that the program was realizable. She pointed to a number of shortcomings in the program–but in general approved of it.

Parliament Speaker Khosrov Harutiunian also voiced confidence that the program was a political document–and there was the problem of political confidence. He called on all factions and deputy groups to treat seriously the question of approving 1999 state budget.

In conclusion–Prime Minister Armen Darbinian thanked all deputies for the discussion. He hoped that the parliament–political forces of Armenia and the public will help the government implement the program.

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