Two opposition parties represented in the National Assembly rejected on Friday key terms of a parliamentary inquiry into the Armenian government’s controversial energy agreements with Russia that have been set by the government.
Parliament majority leaders representing the ruling Republican Party (HHK) unexpectedly expressed readiness last week to set up an ad hoc parliamentary commission that would look into the government’s recent dealings with the Gazprom monopoly and its broader handling of gas supplies from Russia. The inquiry proposed by the opposition minority was rejected by them earlier this month.
HHK lawmakers presented the four opposition parliamentary factions this week with a draft decision regulating the powers and mandate of the special panel. Only two of them, the Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Dashnaktsutyun parties accepted the proposal.
The opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) protested on Friday against the HHK’s desire to ensure that all meetings of the commission are held behind the closed doors. Levon Zurabian, the HAK’s parliamentary leader, accused the ruling partly of foul play, saying that this condition was added to the bill at the last minute. Zurabian made clear that the HAK will boycott the probe unless the parliament majority drops it.
The other opposition party, Zharangutyun (Heritage), objected to the HHK’s insistence on the pro-government and opposition factions having equal representation in the commission. Zharangutyun’s Ruben Hakobian said the parliament faction must each name one of the commission members, something which would put the body under opposition control.
Hovannes Sahakian, a senior HHK deputy, dismissed the opposition objections as “illogical.”