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Armenian Opposition Unimpressed With Government Assurances


Armenia - Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian addresses the parliament in Yerevan, March 27, 2019.

Representatives of the two opposition parties represented in Armenia’s parliament on Thursday renewed their criticism of the government’s economic record and policies strongly defended by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.

Pashinian presented lawmakers on Wednesday with a report on the implementation of his government’s first policy program which was approved by the previous National Assembly one month after he took office in May last year. He insisted that the government is already making good on his repeated pledges to carry out an “economic revolution” in the country.

“We never got answers to several questions,” said Naira Zohrabian, a senior lawmaker from the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK). In particular, she said, Pashinian failed to elaborate on his claims that hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investments are about to be made in the Armenian economy.

“It’s been almost one year since the [2018] revolution but there has been no change in the living standards of Armenia’s citizens,” claimed Zohrabian. The government has yet to embark on “very serious economic reforms,” she said.

Gevorg Gorgisian of the Bright Armenia Party (LHK) complained Pashinian focused on official statistics for the first two months of this year and his plans for the coming months, rather than the government’s 2018 track record.

“We didn’t expect such a speech from the prime minister. We expected a report on 2018,” said Gorgisian. Pashinian should have discussed “real economic figures” and his government’s “failings,” he said.

Alen Simonian, a deputy parliament speaker representing Pashinian’s My Step alliance, dismissed the criticism, saying that the government should be given more time to deliver on its promises.

“It’s wrong to say that one year [has passed since the change of government] and criticize us because we were busy forming the government up until the December 9 parliamentary elections,” argued Simonian.

Both the BHK and the LHK criticized another, five-year policy program which was drawn up by Pashinian’s cabinet shortly after those snap elections. They said that it is short on specifics.

The program says, among other things, that the government will ensure that the Armenian economy will grow by at least 5 percent annually.

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