Parliament Members Oppose Privatization

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The news conference called for by Parliament members Arshak Sadoyan and Stepan Zakarian August 24 was dedicated to the planned privatization of the energy grid–the Law "On the privatization of the energy grid"–the planned introduction of per minute billing as well as to other issues.

"We will not allow the per minute billing to be introduced. We will not allow the electricity networks to be sold. We will try to involve the public in this process. We informed large international institutes that the Law ‘On the privatization of the energy grid’ was adopted by means of falsifications," Sadoyan said.

He stated that these actions taken by the executive–will be discussed at a rally organized by the National Democratic Union and the National Unity (party led by Artashes Geghamian) on September 7.

PPA member Stepan Zakarian conveyed the message of the PPA saying–"That the facilities of strategic importance are being gifted to foreign states is a betrayal of national interests. Whatever the president and the prime minister may say–it is obvious that they have personal interests in these transactions."

He pointed out that before–only the sale of electricity networks was in question–whereas now the privatization of such highly important facilities as the Sevan-Hrazdan and Vorotan cascades and high-voltage networks are being considered as well.

Sadoyan harshly criticized the privatization of ArmenTel–calling the deal disgraceful. According to Sadoyan–as a result of the ArmenTel deal Armenia’sustained damages estimated at $100 million.

"Only the president–who was not aware of anything–could state that the deal was a success," Sadoyan said.

He reported that he and Stepan Zakarian filed a complaint with the minor court of the Center and Nork-Marash districts–but–Judge Oghanian tried to re-address the complaint to the Constitutional Court–after which the they filed a complaint with the president of the court. Sadoyan expressed hope for a positive outcome.

"I think that if our complaint is rejected–Robert Kocharian will not be able to speak about the independence of our judicial system any more," Zakarian said. He harshly criticized the Speaker of the National Assembly Armen Khachatrian–who rejected the demand of a number of deputies calling for an another chance to vote on the law dealing with electricity networks.

The deputy pointed out that if Armenia were a law-abiding state–Khachatrian would be tried for official abuse. According to Zakarian–the responsibility for the adoption of the law rests with President Robert Kocharian.

"The parliamentary majority is–to put it mildly–in Robert Kocharian’s pocket and executes all his orders," Zakarian said.

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