Speaker Back in Office Amid Parliament Standstill

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Parliament speaker Armen Khachatrian–reinstated in his post by the Constitutional Court on Tuesday–returned to his office on Wednesday after a two-week absence forced by his political opponents.

The Court ruled that the September 26 parliament session–during which several parties attempted to remove the speaker–proceeded with serious violations and Khachatrian can therefore continue to perform his duties. The parties–which refused to recognize his legitimacy after the session–made it clear that they will abide by the verdict.

However–it was not clear whether the Republican Party of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian–the main actor behind the impeachment attempt–will again try to change the parliament leadership. In a drastic reversal of their earlier strategy–the Republicans are now trying to preserve their Unity alliance with the People’s Party of Armenia–of which Khachatrian is a member. The People’s Party on Tuesday pledged its support for the Markarian government’s plan of action but stopped short of sharing responsibility for its implementation.

Several other parliamentary groups that had joined efforts to oust Khachatrian in the hope of winning more government posts were cautious in their assessmen’s of the political situation after the Court ruling. "The situation is changing so rapidly that I am not sure what will happen three or four days from now," said Vartan Ayvazian–leader of the Stability group. Martun Matevosian–a deputy from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation said: "It is up to the political force which initiated the whole [impeachment] process to decide what to do."

Matevosian said he regrets Markarian’s efforts to form a broader coalition "stopped halfway," warning that the ARF and other parties will consider voting no confidence in the Republican-led government if it fails to come up with a specific strategy of addressing the country’s social and economic problems.

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