By Ruzanna Khachatrian
The pro-government majority in the Armenian parliament thwarted on Wednesday a multi-partisan effort to raise the extremely low state pensions in Armenia. A bill drafted by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) was backed by only 46 deputies of the 131-member National Assembly.
The government has argued against its passage, saying that it would be unable to finance even a modest increase. But Dashnaktsutyun leaders insisted that the government can raise additional resources by streamlining the state pension system.
The initiative was defeated after a rare display of unity by members of the Miasnutyun faction and the Hayastan parliamentary group. Lawmakers from the People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK), one of the two partners in the majority bloc, opposed the proposed rise in pensions despite their uneasy relations with Prime Minister Andranik Markarian.