Velvet Revolution Update

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YEREVAN (RFE/RL, news.am) — As all roads lead to the election of Member of Parliament Nikol Pashinyan of the Yelk Alliance to the post of prime minister on May 8, the Velvet Revolution is continuing to make news.

  • Edmon Marukyan, a member of the opposition Yelk faction at the National Assembly of Armenia, on Friday, May 4, tried to explain who the opposition bloc would be in parlament once Pashinyan takes over.

Once Pashinyan is premier, there will be a paradox because parliament will no longer have an opposition faction — which is a requirement of the law on parliamentary procedure. Marukyan said Yelk members are not discussing the issue right now.

He noted that, in actual fact, it will be a force-majeure situation, and it will not be clear as to who is the stable majority in parliament.

“But there is the following example in international practice that he [Pashinyan] will be the [parliamentary] minority PM,” Marukyan stressed. “A government is formed which is called a minority government, which will be of temporary nature.”

Marukyan expressed confidence, however, that this interim government will be able to resolve matters.

“I believe amendments to constitutional laws also can be achieved; otherwise, the crisis will continue,” he added. “Pashinyan’s government can do many things, make changes in our daily lives, without coming to parliament [to get parliamentary approval].”

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Marukyan noted there have been no discussions as to the time frame for a snap parliamentary election in Armenia.

“In my conviction, all conditions of justice should be ensured, and then there should be elections,” he noted.

  • Possible extraordinary parliamentary elections will not be held earlier than in autumn, political scientist Armen Badalyan told reporters on May 4.

According to him, Armenia will face the reformation of political forces and their relations with businessmen who will try to get certain guarantees for themselves.

“One thing is clear — the Republican Party of Armenia will not be represented in the new parliament,” Badalyan noted.

  • The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) expelled one of its longtime leaders, Aghvan Vartanian, from its ranks because of his refusal to back Pashinyan’s bid to become prime minister.

Dashnaktsutyun voiced support for Pashinyan’s opposition movement after pulling out of Armenia’s governing coalition following the April 23 resignation of Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan. Accordingly, it decided that the seven members of the Armenian parliament affiliated with must vote for Pashinyan as premier at a May 1 session of the National Assembly.

During that session, Vartanian unexpectedly announced that he will not vote for Pashinyan. While acknowledging the sincerity of Pashinyan’s pro-democracy agenda, he said that the protests could be exploited by unspecified foreign powers and result in “irreversible bitter consequences” for the country. He did not elaborate.

Dashnaktsutyun’s governing body in Armenia was quick to accuse Vartanian of violating the century-old party’s strict internal discipline and demand his resignation from the parliament. The party’s leadership announced on May 4 that it has expelled Vartanian from the party.

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