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Armenian Parliament Chairman resigns

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 PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 5:11 am    Post subject: Armenian Parliament Chairman resigns Reply with quote Back to top

May 12, 2006 | Armenpress | Yerevan


Parliament chairman Arthur Baghdasarian who said he will resign and who has pulled out his Orinats Yerkir from the governing coalition, told a news conference today his party will be in opposition to the authorities but he said they would go their own path.
Baghdasarian described his decision to resign, prompted in all likelihood by mass exodus of businessmen-lawmakers from his party, as 'a moral decision," saying all members of his party who hold government positions must follow his example. He said it was the decision of the party's governing board. "Anyone who will try to retain his post will be expelled form the party,' Baghdasarian said. Baghdasarian explained his resignation by a set of 'very serious' disagreements between his party and the other two members of the governing coalition-the Republican party of prime minister Margarian and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.
"After protracted debates over whether we should remain in the coalition or quit it we decided in favor of the second,' he said. Baghdasarian divided the disagreements into three groups- political or social-economic, democracy reforms and foreign policy priorities. Baghdasarian said his party would continue to advocate what he described as 'decentralization of power and businesses," saying also consistent efforts to seek closer integration with Europe, including building up closer ties with NATO, must become a foreign policy priority.
Baghdasarian, however, added that this policy line should not affect Armenia's friendly relations with Russia and denied rumors that pulling out from coalition was part of an engineered scheme to divert attention from the Karabakh conflict. "In my opinion talks over the Karabakh conflict are very constructive. I think Armenia's position is very constructive," he said.
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 PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 8:24 am    Post subject: RA Minister of Education Yeritsian (Orinats Yerkir) resigns Reply with quote Back to top


Minister of Education and Science Sergo Yeritsian, member of the
Orinats Yerkir (Country of Law) Party, will resign after May 22. Noyan
Tapan correspondent was informed about it from the Ministry. Chairman
of the Orinats Yerkir Party and NA Speaker Artur Baghdasarian said in
the May 12 statement that after his official resignation all state
officials representing the party should resign from their posts during
the next NA 4-day session to start on May 22.

Levon Mkrtchyan appointed
RA Minister of Education and Science

12.05.2006 17:57

`Radiolur' learned from non-official sources that RA Minister of
Education and Science was dismissed, and he will be replaced by Head
of the ARF Parliamentary faction Levon Mkrtchyan, who occupied the
position twice in the past.
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 PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 8:27 am    Post subject: RA Minister of Urban Development left "Orinats Yerkir&a Reply with quote Back to top

RA Minister of Urban Development left
"Orinats Yerkir" Party

12.05.2006 12:54

Today RA Minister of Urban Development Aram Harutyunyan put in an
application about leaving `Orinats Yerkir' Party, Press Service of the
Ministry of Urban Development informed.
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 PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 8:30 am    Post subject: A1+| ARTHUR BAGHDASARYAN, «WE ARE OPPOSITION» Reply with quote Back to top



[05:48 pm]

12 May, 2006

more images «I don't want to remain NA President, I
don't want to put forward the issue of my confidence,
I was to leave and follow my own course,» NA President
Arthur Baghdasaryan announced during the press
conference today and pointed the course, «We are

Will the opposition accept the OYP with outstretched
hands? «I was not accepted with outstretched hands in
the authorities, neither will I be in the opposition»,
the OYP leader said. By the way, he informed that the
text of the written resignation is ready, but
everything till be done according to the RA
regulations on May 22, the first day of the NA
four-day session. He will read the letter during the
first session which will be confirmed within five


Arthur Baghdasaryan came to the press conference after
the last concluding session of the coalition where the
sides decided to separate in a civilized way, without
insulting each other. Was it Robert Kocharyan or
Arthur Baghdasaryan who thought of OYP's leaving the
coalition first? Mr. Baghdasaryan answered that he had
decided what to do and could not blame those
businessmen who left the party as they were oppressed.
He said that he understands those people who `knew
there were disagreements between Robert Kocharyan and
Arthur Baghdasaryan and were to decide which course to

As for the disagreements, the NA President informed
that there are three types of disagreements between
him and his colleagues from the opposition. The first
group is the inner political one. This includes the
privatization of the nuclear power station and their
attitude towards the 2001-2003 privatization program.

`The OYP has always said that the volumes of
corruption are higher than the combat against it. We
always said that we must combat with actions, not with
words. We also did not accept the privatization
process in Armenia. It was to be held according to the
principles of transparency and equality,' Arthur
Baghdasaryan said and reminded that he had given names
and addresses which were not taken into account.

The second group of disagreements refers to the
democratic reforms. Arthur Baghdasaryan reminded the
discussions about the Constitutional amendments. `We
are not like those people who say something and do
another thing,' Mr. Baghdasaryan claimed.

And the third group refers to foreign policy. The NA
President announced that the aim of Armenia is the
integration into the European structures: membership
in EU and close relationships with Russia and the

According to Arthur Baghdasaryan, these were the three
main reasons why he resigned. Asked the question if
the reason was the absence of his name in the three
main posts, the NA President answered indirectly,
`Armenia has exhausted all the resources of falsifying
the elections. Now the people must make their choice.'
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 PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 2:38 pm    Post subject: ARTHUR BAGHDASARIAN HAD INFRINGED THE CONVENTION Reply with quote Back to top


12 May 06

The NDU leader, deputy of `Justice' bloc Vazgen Manoukian considers
OEP collapse as the fight of lieutenant Schmidt's sons.

In your opinion whose revenge was the `OEP'collapse, Robert
Kocharian's, whose foreign political positions Arthur Baghdasarian
opposed or the RPA and Government's whose speculations Arthur
Baghdasarian detected?

The authorities don't get so angry with the expression of different
opinions about the policy. Simply as the convention of lieutenant
Schmidt's sons coalition powers also have internal arrangements, rules
of the game by which they have come to the authority. And if anybody
infringes those arrangements he must be punished. They have found the
way of punishment for other not to do the same. On the other hand
there is `Bolivar won't take both of them» factor.

So taking businessmen from the OEP, was it decided who became the
winner for the post of the succeedent in Serge Sargsian-Arthur
Baghdasarian contest? I think Arthur Baghdasarian hasn't touched the
problem on this occasion.

Now he has a unique opportunity to produce to the West as the Armenian
Sahakashvili or Yushchenko who fought inside the authority for his
pro-western views and suffered of it. In your opinion if he uses that
opportunity maybe the West will be for his candidacy in the
presidential elections?

And who isn't pro-western in his declarations. All authority groups
declare that our aim is to become the EU member etc. And it isn't so,
that others aren't so pro-western but Arthur Baghdasarian
is. Everybody wants to take on that «cloth». Every
country has its heroes. Our country has been specific up to the
present day and will remain so.

My question can be considered naive, but maybe those businessmen
haven't been coordinated, they all deny that pressure has been used on
them. Maybe those businessmen who had found a political support for
securing their property, left the OEP because of the change of

But why didn't they enter in `Orinats Erkir' at the beginning and not
to the NDU. They had read the projects and considered that the OEP
project was more profitable for Armenia. No. They had entered into OEP
because it was the part of the authority; the ruling clique proves
it. But when OEP looses the authority, those people must leave it. If
they can't take advantages from the authority why should they stay
there? Perhaps it is coordinated or they have decided themselves but
it is very natural process.

A week was enough to destroy the party. In your opinion how many time
will be enough for destroying next authority parties, RPA and ARF?

Dashnaktsutiun is less possible as it has a strong caste structure
inside it. And if the ARF is Robert Kocharian's political ground the
base of this authority is the RPA. It can cause a feeling of danger at
Robert Kocharian and Serge Sargsian. And in that case the ARF won't be
destroyed but will make its power weaken, divide into some parties. So
it isn't accidental that Gagik Tsarukian's and public prosecutor's
parties will act in the same field.

Do you also think that the NA chairman must call for a vote of
confidence and send in his resignation?

I don't agree with it. It is adopted in such cases that the NA
chairman doesn 't send in his resignation, doesn't leave the
parliamentary system but leaves the system of governing that is the

Do you think that Arthur Baghdasarian will remain the NA chairman
leaving the coalition?

Yes I do, if he isn't dismissed. There is no contradiction
here. Especially when the NA chairman can have an opinion which
doesn't correspond with the Presiden't opinion on the foreign policy,
it isn't a reason for the NA chairman's resignation. The government is
another thing. It is a unified body of adopting decisions and the
members of the government doesn't have right to express discrepant

Let's summarize, should we meet with sympathy the OEP, which intended
to be a reformer in the authority, or they have already adopted the
rules of the game by which they were revenged?

There is no point of sympathy. They have indeed adopted the rules of
this game. There is some sort of thievish rules and those who infringe
it are punished.
Anna Israelian
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 PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 2:57 pm    Post subject: DON'T PEOPLE NEED HONEST PEOPLE? Reply with quote Back to top


12 May 06

The developments involving the Orinats Yerkir Party fit the logic of
pre-election developments, stated Member of Parliament Hrant
Khachatryan, the leader of the Constitutional Right Union, in a news
conference on May 12. According to him, the government is facing a
problem of keeping what it has, and, considering the pressure on
behalf of international organizations, holding elections concealing
electoral fraud.

Under these circumstances, Hrant Khachatryan thinks that the
government will try to render neutral the forces in the parliament,
which are a more or less independent, trying to shape a National
Assembly with more controllable members. Hrant Khachatryan views the
campaign against the Orinats Yerkir in this context. Hrant Khachatryan
says the Orinats Yerkir may not only secede from the coalition but
also find a more effective strategy. `We would not secede, we would
stay and fight,' says Hrant Khachatryan. He says it is possible that
what happened is a game. According to Hrant Khachatryan, the game may
alsobe determined by the upcoming elections, calculated to win over
votes. But the member of parliament also says that there are a lot of
arguments that thisis not a game. One of these arguments is
long-lasting contact with the members of the coalition; Hrant
Khachatryan says the coalition colleagues of Orinats Yerkir have
always disliked this political party. Hrant Khachatryan also gives the
example of Artashes Tumanyan, which in the beginning appeared as a
game, but now obviously Tumanyan is having serious problems.

Besides, Hrant Khachatryan emphasizes that as a part of the
government, the Orinats Yerkir has always had its standpoint on
certain issues. At any rate, even if this is a game, people may accept
it, says Hrant Khachatryan, seeing that Arthur Baghdasaryan can make
changes in the country's life. Hrant Khachatryan says there is no need
for confessions. `I cannot even feel the public demand for
confessions. The society does not need an honest person. It needs fast
changes,' says Hrant Khachatryan. He also thinks that the future place
of the Orinats Yerkir in the political sphere and in the opposition is
determined by the opinion of the same people. `I am deeply convinced
that the opposition is not a hangout of losers or the repressed, a
temporary shelter, where they can stay, have a rest and try to take
power in one way or another. There are political parties which
expected and even prepared for the entrance of Arthur Baghdasaryan to
the opposition, and there are political parties to whom the secession
of Orinats Yerkir from the coalition means weakening of the coalition
and not strengthening of the opposition,' says the leaderof the
Constitutional Right Union.

He believes that in the beginning people, and especially the ordinary
members of the Orinats Yerkir must evaluate, either accept or decline
the Orinats Yerkir Party. Hrant Khachatryan says personally he is not
happy about the weakening of the coalition or the prospect of
strengthening of the opposition.

Hrant Khachatryan is concerned by the impact of these developments on
the political sphere.
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 PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 11:05 am    Post subject: Markarian Defends Orinats Yerkir Ouster Reply with quote Back to top

Markarian Defends Orinats Yerkir Ouster

By Astghik Bedevian and Atom Markarian

Prime Minister Andranik Markarian has defended the effective ouster of the Orinats Yerkir Party from Armenia’s governing coalition, accusing it of siding with the opposition and violating a 2003 power-sharing agreement with two other parties supporting President Robert Kocharian.

In a weekend interview with RFE/RL, Markarian also admitted that wealthy lawmakers that have defected from Orinats Yerkir would have risked hurting their businesses if they had remained loyal to Artur Baghdasarian, the party’s leader and outgoing parliament speaker.

“Artur Baghdasarian knew where he was heading for,” he said. “Orinats Yerkir itself decided whether it wants to be in opposition or in the coalition.”

Markarian pointed to Orinats Yerkir leaders’ recent public attacks on the government which he said exposed the start of their preparations for next year’s parliamentary election. “We signed a memorandum [in June 2003] which says that if there are differences on internal or foreign policies, we must discuss them within the coalition before learning about them from newspapers,” he said. “So naturally, we expressed our discontent [with the fact that] we were not told about disagreements and learned about them from other sources.”

According to Markarian, Orinats Yerkir’s withdrawal from the coalition was inevitable also because of Baghdasarian’s disagreements with the socioeconomic and foreign policies pursued by Armenia’s leadership. He noted in particular that its repeated demands for a large-scale compensation of hundreds of thousands of Armenians who lost their Soviet-era bank savings during the early 1990s “ran counter to the economic policy of our state.” He also rejected as “unacceptable” Baghdasarian’s recent calls for Armenia’s eventual membership in NATO.

Baghdasarian similarly cited growing policy disagreements with Kocharian, Markarian’s Republican Party and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) as he officially announced his resignation and Orinats Yerkir’s withdrawal from the government on Friday. Baghdasarian also stopped short of blaming Kocharian for this month’s defection of a dozen Orinats Yerkir parliamentarians, which precipitated the party’s exit. His continuing refusal to criticize the head of state hardly lent credence to his claims that Orinats Yerkir is “becoming an opposition force.”

Markarian denied reports that the Orinats Yerkir defectors, all of them wealthy businessmen with close ties to the government, faced strong pressure from the presidential administration. But he did admit that “continuing to do business while being in opposition would be much more difficult” for them.

Khachatur Sukiasian, a millionaire businessman who too holds a parliament seat, agreed. “In a transitional country like Armenia any businessman who openly supports the opposition will end up in serious trouble,” he said.

Sukiasian believes that legal immunity from prosecution enjoyed by Armenian parliamentarians is not a safeguards against government inroads on their business assets. “I don’t think you can protect your business through membership of the National Assembly,” he said. “On the contrary, you are more likely to face various political problems,”

Under Armenia’s constitution, members of parliament are not allowed to run economic entities whether they are in opposition or in government.

The Armenian premier insisted at the same time that the defectors as well as the three Orinats Yerkir ministers who have also deserted Baghdasarian made a “political decision not to join the opposition.” “So this is more of a question of political orientation, rather than protection of businesses. Sergo [Yeritsian], for example, is not engaged in business,” he said, referring to Armenia’s education minister who was Orinats Yerkir’s deputy chairman and one of Baghdasarian’s closest associates until last Friday.

Some government sources say Yeritsian will be replaced by a senior member of Dashnaktsutyun, Levon Mkrtchian, and appointed to another, less significant government position despite his defection. Markarian declined to confirm or deny this.
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 PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 11:08 am    Post subject: Loyalists Heed Baghdasarian Calls To Quit Government Reply with quote Back to top

Loyalists Heed Baghdasarian Calls To Quit Government

By Ruzanna Khachatrian and Shakeh Avoyan

The Orinats Yerkir party of the outgoing parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian lost yet another seat in the National Assembly on Monday but drew comfort from the resignation of several senior government officials affiliated with it.

The party’s faction in the 131-seat legislature was reduced to just nine members after another defection which is widely believed to have been provoked by the authorities. The latest defector, Mekhak Mkhitarian, issued no explanations, just like the nine other wealthy lawmakers that have left Orinats Yerkir since May 5.

Adding insult to injury, all three Armenian ministers that have represented Orinats Yerkir have ignored Baghdasarian’s demands to resign, choosing instead to remain in the government. One of them, Education Minister Sergo Yeritsian, was the party’s deputy chairman until last Friday.

Also likely to defect are the governors of the two Armenian provinces, Gegharkunik and Vayots Dzor, that were controlled by Orinats Yerkir until its withdrawal from the governing coalition late last week.

One of the outgoing speakers’ remaining top loyalists, Samvel Balasanian, singled out Yeritsian for harsh criticism. “He seems to value government posts more than his and his party’s honor,” he told RFE/RL.

Balasanian was full of praise for two other prominent Orinats Yerkir figures, Mher Shahgeldian and Gagik Mkheyan, who head the parliament committees on defense and social affairs and will formally quit with Baghdasarian at the end of this month.

Orinats Yerkir has also had five deputy ministers in the coalition cabinet of President Robert Kocharian. Three of them told RFE/RL on Monday that they remain loyal to Baghdasarian and will comply with his orders.

“On Friday, after Artur Baghdasarian’s news conference, I handed the minister [of labor] a letter to the prime minister asking him to relieve me of my duties,” said Artsruni Aghajanian, deputy minister of labor and social affairs. “I am one of those individuals who participated in the party’s creation and don’t find it moral to even consider staying [in the government].”

“I have abandoned the post of deputy minister to stay with my party,” said Ara Grigorian, deputy minister of trade and economic development. “I tendered my resignation on Friday.”

Similar decisions are understood to have been made by Gagik Aslanian, another Baghdasarian loyalist who has served as deputy minister for local government, as well as at least two regional vice-governors representing Orinats Yerkir.

Party sources claimed that “numerous” other, lower-level Orinats Yerkir officials will follow suit after Baghdasarian formally ceases to be parliament speaker. The National Assembly is expected to accept his resignation without a debate on May 27.
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