By Astghik Bedevian
Leaders of the Armenian parliament’s pro-government majority welcomed on Thursday the opposition’s intention to end its prolonged boycott of National Assembly sessions.
Some of them went so far as to state that the participation of opposition lawmakers in parliament debates will reflect positively on the quality of laws passed by the legislature.
“We will greet them with music,” Rustamian, a senior deputy from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), told RFE/RL. “We want the parliament discussions to be more comprehensive and feature individuals that have different views. We may not share those views, but their existence will make us come up with more substantiated arguments.”
“By and large, the quality of laws [adopted by the assembly] hasn’t suffered. But it is always easier to hone them when the opposition is present,” Rustamian added.
Samvel Balasanian, the parliamentary leader of another governing party, Orinats Yerkir, agreed, saying that the work of the National Assembly will become more “qualitative.” “After their return we will adopt better laws,” he said.
But Galust Sahakian, the leader of the parliament’s largest faction representing the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), was less enthusiastic about the prospect of again hearing dissent in the parliament after an 18-month hiatus. While welcoming the impending end of the boycott, he claimed that the opposition Artarutyun bloc and the National Unity Party (AMK) need it more than the authorities.
“[Their return] is welcome but not that important anymore,” said Sahakian. “They can not achieve any results because they missed the right moment [for ending the boycott].”
The more than two dozen deputies representing Artarutyun and the AMK walked out of the National Assembly in February 2004 after its majority refused to consider calling a “referendum of confidence” in President Robert Kocharian. The two opposition groups now intend to resume their involvement in the legislative process in a bid to attract greater publicity for their activities.