Parliamentary Factions Evaluate Fiscal Year

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Briefings held at the National Assembly on June 1 were focused on three items: the president’s veto on the law on free travel by electric city buses of disabled pensioners and invalids–the expected turn in the investigation into the October 27 case–and the assessment of the Parliament’s activities during the last year.

Communist Party of Armenia faction representative–Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Social Affairs–Health and Nature Protection Gagik Tadevossian–stated that the faction will do all in its power to get the veto lifted from the mentioned law by means of negotiations or an override. Tadevossian said that he–along with members of Parliament Victor Dallakian and Shavarsh Kocharian–signed and submitted the proposal on including among the planned amendmen’s to the budget the point on the sums necessary for the law to be effective. The president justified his veto by noting that expenses provided for by the law are not budgeted–and it was suggested that the issue be considered during the discussions of the amendmen’s to the budget. But the amendmen’s recently proposed by the government do not include these sums either. According to Tadevossian–the claim that there are no institutions of such privileges anywhere in the world is erroneous.

Expressing his bewilderment with the indecision of the political forces represented in Parliament in overriding the president’s veto–Tadevossian assured that under this pretext the president will not dissolve the Parliament and thus "make it a hero." Tadevossian called immoral the Constitutional norm according to which the president elected by the people has the right to dissolve the Parliament that is elected by the same people.

The representative of the Armenian Communists expressed concern over the turn in the investigation of the October 27 case–as–he believes–"the crime must be completely disclosed"; the country’s prestige and restoration of the people’s confidence depend on it–and it is also the demand of the debt of memory of the killed political figures–he added.

According to Tadevossian–the Parliament’s activities during the last year have been fruitful–considering the fact that October 27 and political instability influenced the Parliament’s activities.

Leader of the Hayastan deputy group Myasnik Malkhassian said that the still-forming group will discuss the president’s veto and make its own decision. He pointed out that these sums can be put to better use: "There are socially vulnerable sections of population not only in Yerevan–and it should have been considered."

Stating that the Unity bloc does not de facto exist. Malkhassian said that the bloc leaders "proved to be unprincipled in the matter of removing the former prime minister and proposing the candidate of the incumbent prime minister."

He expressed conviction that the October 27 killings were an attempt of a coup d’etat which was thwarted: the army did not allow it to happen. According to Malkhassian–there are growing fears that the real criminals will be acquitted–and those killed condemned. The fears are accounted for not only by the actions of the investigative group–but by the influence of the links of power on the newly established judicial bodies–as the "crime being disclosed depends on the authorities’ good will."

The Hayastan group–which considers the overcoming of the atmosphere of distrust and the country’s steady development its priority tasks–was formed to prevent the Yerkrapah Union of Volunteers from being used for political purposes–Secretary of the group–Yerkrapah Board member Ara Ketikian said. He advised those present not to overestimate the importance of the organization established by Arkady Ter-Tadevossian (Commando)–stressing that "there is no serious split in the ran’s of Yerkrapah nor is there any drain [of Yerkrapah members] to the newly established organization." According to him–the establishment of another organization with similar goals is not only dangerous but also senseless. Ketikian reminded those present that Ter-Tadevossian has not yet announced his withdrawal from the Yerkrapah Board.

Leader of the Stability deputy group Vardan Aivazian hailed the tendency to the end of political speculations on the October 27 case. As to the group’s doubts and distrust in the investigatory group in connection with the turn in the investigation–Aivazian said–"All of Armenia is constantly harboring suspicions." Ketikian also pointed out that their intention to found a party is "at the stage of registration," and 17 members of Parliament have already joined it.

Member of the Unity faction–Vice-Speaker of the Parliament Tigran Torossian pointed out that in his attitude to the investigatory group one should be guided not by suspicions but by facts–and "we have no new facts for a new interpretation." As for two persons under investigation–"the matter may only concern the change of the measure of restriction–so far-reaching conclusions should not be drawn."

As to the president’s veto on the law on transportation privileges for pensioners and invalids–Torossian pointed out that the law cannot be effective without a necessary basis. He stressed that the adoption of such law is not serious under the conditions when pensions and wages are not paid for months.

Torossian said that the Unity faction held a meeting a day earlier–which is a hope-inspiring sign that differences are being settled–and there are better chances of problems being solved. Torossian considers it logical that a representative of the Republican Party of Armenian become faction leader.

He made a positive assessment of the Parliament’s activities during the last year–considering the October 27 killings. Agreeing that much can be improved–the vice-speaker expressed satisfaction with the fact that it is now clear what should be improved and how. Torossian also made a positive assessment of the Unity faction’s activities–pointing out that although the faction was bereft of its leaders–"we have been able to stand the test with minimal losses to the country."

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