Hayk Khanumyan, the head of the opposition National Rebirth faction in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic’s National Assembly and chairman of the party, has been beaten up and was hospitalized in capital Stepanakert.
Nagorno Karabakh’s former powerful defense minister Samvel Babayan has returned to Armenia after spending several years abroad in de-facto political “exile” as a figure who had fallen out of favor with Armenia’s ruling elite.
The National Assembly has passed the new Electoral Code in the third and final reading today, with Chief of Government Staff David Harutyunyan admitting that there is still no broad consensus with the opposition on the set of electoral laws yet.
Assurances by the Armenian government about its determination to fight corruption do not appear yet to inspire opposition parties and representatives of civil society that this fight is going to be successful.
Armenian parliamentary forces continued to discuss the draft electoral code that was passed in the first reading late last month amid claims by the opposition about lack of consensus. Representatives of the authorities, meanwhile, assured the opposition that discussions could also proceed between the second and third reading votes based on opposition proposals to achieve consensus.
This week, Alan Meale and Giuseppe Galati, co-rapporteurs on Armenia of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Monitoring Committee, during their visit to the country, met the President, Prime Minister and a number of senior officials to discuss Armenia’s democratic and legislative development processes, as well as issues linked with the April four-day war in Nagorno Karabakh.
Armenia’s opposition groups reacted mostly with skepticism to Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan’s “revolutionary” call for speedy reforms in various spheres of Armenia’s political and public life, casting doubts that rhetoric will be followed by real action.
The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) and its allies that dominate the Armenian National Assembly on Thursday ensured a first-reading passage of a new electoral bill that had earlier become a subject of heated discussions in and outside the legislature.
Armenia’s former foreign minister Vartan Oskanian, who is a harsh government critic today, delivered a tough speech at the National Assembly on Wednesday, saying that elections in Armenia have been rigged in the past two decades.
A new political party being set up by Vartan Oskanian, a former foreign minister critical of Armenia’s current government, will be called Hamakhmbum (Consolidation), it emerged today.
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