Former National Security Chief Defends Ararktsian

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"The Parliament is unprofessional and its members are under a great deal of pressure. They do not realize the gravity of the decision they have made and the enormous consequences this will have for the army," National Assembly member and former chief of the National Security Department David Shahnazarian said during a press conference. Shahnazarian was discussing the passage of a bill which revoked the right of students from being exempt from military draft and the subsequent resignation of National Assembly Speaker Babken Ararktsian.

Ararktsian resigned after the National Assembly passed a government-porposed version of the draft bill.

"I think that–he–first of all tried to draw the attention of journalists and the public to this terrible decision. It is rather surprising that the Parliament accepted Ararktsian’s resignation without discussion–thus–violating the parliamentary procedures," Shahnazarian said.

Shahnazarian stressed that Ararktsian also pointed out to the fact that the parliamentarians were pressured.

"At least a dozen parliamentarians said to me that `We are against this bill at heart–but we just cannot vote against it–we have to vote for the government proposed bill,’ " Shahnazarian said.

Shahnazarian said there were only three ways to veto the bill. "We can try and fail the bill in the first reading–but–there seems to be little hope for that. We can try to force the government to resign–which also seems very unlikely. Lastly–we can try and dissolve the Parliament–however–we have no means of forming a new one."

"The old election law does not work–while the new one is still in its infancy. I am confident that this National Assembly would not adopt the law on election," Shahnazarian said.

He voiced his discontent with the local mass media–saying that "such a crucial and important bill for the entire nation is being poorly covered by the media."

Shahnazarian was ousted as Armenia’s National Security Advisor in 1994. His daughter is married to Ter-Petrosyan’s son.


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