ANC’s anti-monopoly package rejected in parliament

The Armenian National Assembly on Thursday voted 36 to 61 to reject a bill submitted by the opposition calling for greater protection of economic competition and antimonopoly measures.

Representatives of all minority factions, including the “alternative” Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP), voted for the bill, which was thwarted by the two majority factions, including the main ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) that control most seats in the legislature.

The opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) bloc said before the vote that its outcome would show “which of the forces are interested in putting an end to monopolies and which ones are for preserving them.”
Interestingly, two lawmakers from the RPA still voted for the bill.

Levon Zurabyan, head of the ANC faction, said afterwards: “I want to thank the Republicans who have demonstrated their ability to act in somewhat independent manner.”

The Armenian opposition has long criticized the government for allowing the presence of monopolies in the economy and the issue traditionally becomes a major subject of debate before elections.

Representatives of opposition or opposition-leaning forces have been in “political consultations” in recent weeks over a possible single candidate or joint platform for contesting next year’s presidential election.

The latest of such meetings was held on Thursday and was hosted by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation that again presented its platform to tackle major domestic and foreign-policy concerns and heard the visions of the problems by other opposition groups gearing up for next year’s ballot.