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Ruling Party Leader Under Opposition Fire


Armenia - Galust Sahakian, a deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party, at a news conference in Yerevan, 16Jan2013.

Armenia - Galust Sahakian, a deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party, at a news conference in Yerevan, 16Jan2013.

The parliamentary leader of President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) has come under fire from his opposition colleagues after publicly insulting one of them during a session of the National Assembly last week.

Galust Sahakian, who is also a deputy chairman of the HHK, lashed out at Zaruhi Postanjian, an outspoken deputy from the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, after she lambasted the Armenian authorities during parliament debates on their new five-year policy program. Postanjian specifically hit out at Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian, branding him a “fraudster.”

“Only criminals can be unhappy with the country’s prosecutors,” Sahakian declared on the parliament floor. “The distinguished lady should also be told that the National Assembly is not a highway where she can try to stop cars and take offense after they refuse to stop,” he said, clearly comparing Postanjian to prostitutes.


Armenia - Zaruhi Postanjian, a parliament deputy from the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, undated

Armenia - Zaruhi Postanjian, a parliament deputy from the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, undated

Postanjian’s Zharangutyun (Heritage) party was quick to condemn Sahakian’s remarks and demand an apology. “It wasn’t a behavior worthy of a real man,” Ruben Hakobian, the leader of Zharangutyun’s small parliamentary faction, said on Friday.

“Nobody has the right to say such a thing about a mother of four,” agreed Lyudmila Sargsian, a deputy from the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK). “[Sahakian] is now at such an age that he must behave correctly with regard to young women, not to mention older ones.” “Let him look around himself,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

Sahakian, 65, made clear on Friday that he will not apologize to Postanjian. He claimed that he did not offend her.

In Hakobian’s words, the Zharangutyun leadership is now considering referring the matter to the parliament’s Ethics Committee. “We will again discuss the issue and make a decision after Zaruhi returns from Brussels in the next few days,” he said.

Hovannes Sahakian, another senior HHK parliamentarian, urged the opposition party not to seek disciplinary action against the HHK vice-chairman, saying that opposition leaders themselves often use offensive language in their attacks on the government. “Zaruhi Postanjian and the leader of her faction have often used the phrase ‘Republican thugs’,” he said. “Nobody has a moral right to call any Republican a thug. There are good and bad people in both the HHK and Zharangutyun.”
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