YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia’s National Assembly chamber has reopened for sessions on Friday after a massive renovation that has changed it beyond recognition.
The hall was closed for work in May and has since undergone a major transformation that cost the Armenian taxpayer more than $1.3 million.
The former rectangular hall acquired an oval shape after reconstruction and now, along with an impressive look, also provides a much more convenient and practical environment for legislative work, including computers, monitors and microphones installed at every lawmaker’s desk.
The opening ceremony on Friday was attended by President Serzh Sarkisian and Catholicos Karekin II, the supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
In his welcoming remarks, Parliament Speaker Hovik Abrahamian compared the new chamber to the legendary Round Table in Camelot, the fictional capital of King Arthur’s realm, arguing that it provides “a more democratic atmosphere for debate.”
“A round table has long been regarded as a symbol of cooperation and focused discussions… Those sitting around such a table are equal in their rights and responsibility for decisions,” the parliament speaker said.
In his speech, President Sarkisian reaffirmed Armenia’s commitment to move along the democratic path of development.
“Every parliament ought to represent the will of the people, all strata of voters, their interests, hopes and aspirations. By embarking on the path of democracy for the organization of our public and political life, we also made a decision to move forward in accordance with the relevant criteria,” said Sarkisian. “I think this well-considered choice of the people of Armenia is very important. We have done a lot on this way, but we still need to do more.”