An Armenian parliament deputy denied reports that he brawled with a fellow lawmaker from businessman Gagik Tsarukian’s political alliance during a session of the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Media outlets claimed that Sergey Bagratian swore at another member of his parliamentary faction, Napoleon Azizian, after the latter voted for a government bill opposed by the Tsarukian Bloc. They said another Tsarukian Bloc deputy, Artur Manukian, scolded Bagratian before the two men came to blows.
Bagratian denied the reports when he spoke to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). He said there was only a “loud argument” that did not involve violence or even insults.
Bagratian said he gave the same assurances to Tsarukian, who was alarmed by the reports of the fracas between two of his loyalists. “I called him and said that nothing like that happened,” he said.
The influential tycoon rarely attends parliament sessions in Yerevan.
Azizian’s vote proved decisive for the passage of the government-drafted amendments to Armenia’s Judicial Code. He claimed afterwards to have accidentally pressed a button of the electronic voting system on the parliament floor.
The Tsarukian Bloc claims to be in opposition to the Armenian government and regularly votes against its legislative initiatives. The bloc holds 31 seats in the 105-member National Assembly, making it the second largest parliamentary force.