By Astghik Bedevian
After a brief discussion on Thursday the parliament failed to take the final vote on a highly controversial property bill due to an apparent lack of quorum leaving it to the next special session.
After the passage of the government-proposed bill on property confiscation in the second reading on Wednesday, its final adoption appears to many a foregone conclusion.
The draft law is supposed to regulate continuing demolitions of old parts of central Yerevan that has been the scene of a massive redevelopment in recent years and has drawn angry protests from citizens evicted from their homes without proper compensation.
If adopted in the third and final reading the legislation will uphold the government’s powers to confiscate real property and give it to private developers by citing ‘state and public needs’.
Meanwhile, dozens of people affected by the legislation continued their protest near the government building today.
They demanded proper compensation for their demolished property that will be equal to existing market prices. Otherwise, they threaten to begin a sit-in in the capital’s main square on November 26.
Chairman of the Ownership Rights Protection NGO Vachagan Hakobian says they will call for the government’s resignation unless their demands are met.
“The Republican Party and Dashnaktsutyun let their people down, and the United Labor Party that has been so ardently advocating people’s interests also voted in favor of that bill. We will demand their resignation,” Hakobian told RFE/RL. “We have to defend our rights ourselves if the government fails to do that. We will struggle to the end, as we have nothing to lose now.”