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Opposition To Vote Against New Government Program


Armenia - Deputies from the Prosperous Armenia Party attend the first session of parliament in the absence of their leader Gagik Tsarukian, Yerevan, 31May2012.

Armenia - Deputies from the Prosperous Armenia Party attend the first session of parliament in the absence of their leader Gagik Tsarukian, Yerevan, 31May2012.

The Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and the country’s three leading opposition forces made clear on Tuesday that their lawmakers will vote against the new Armenian government’s program submitted to parliament.

The National Assembly will open debates on the five-year program on Wednesday. Its approval by the parliament’s pro-government majority will amount to a vote of confidence in Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s newly reshuffled cabinet.

The BHK announced its decision to reject the document after a meeting of its parliamentary faction, the second largest in the National Assembly. Tigran Urikhanian, the party spokesman, dismissed it as an “unrealistic program” that contains “numerous flaws.”

“There are many such points. I can list them now but that will take one hour,” Urikhanian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). He said the BHK objects to economic and foreign policies which the government intends to take in the next five years.

Urikhanian also pointed to the fact that the vast majority of government ministers retained their posts after last month’s parliamentary elections in which the BHK finished second.

The decision underlined the BHK’s de facto opposition to President Serzh Sarkisian and his government. The party led by businessman Gagik Tsarukian pulled out of Sarkisian’s governing coalition as a result of the May 6 elections.

Also planning to vote against the government program are the three openly opposition groups represented in the new parliament: the Armenian National Congress, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party.

Khachatur Kokobelian, a senior Zharangutyun lawmaker, claimed that the document outlining key government policies is short of substance. “This is a big failure on the part of the government,” he said. “This document offers no solutions to problems facing the Republic of Armenia.”

Finance Minister Vache Gabrielian dismissed those objections, saying that parliament deputies would physically be unable to scrutinize the program if it contained concrete mechanisms for achieving policy objectives set by the government. Those include the creation of 100,000 new jobs and economic growth averaging 5-7 percent.

The opposition stance should not prevent the government from winning a vote of confidence. The ruling Republican Party of Armenia and its ally, the Orinats Yerkir party, control at least 75 seats in the 131-member parliament.
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