Opposition leader Edmon Marukian on Friday continued to condemn the Armenian authorities for blocking a parliamentary into Yerevan’s municipal administration and said they will pay dearly for their stance.
“The key thing is that for the first time after the  revolution they took such a high-level step back from democracy,” Marukian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “They will not get away with this step. I promise you that the authorities will regret it.”
Marukian’s Bright Armenia Party (LHK) demanded such an inquiry last month after a member of the Yerevan city council affiliated with it, Davit Khazhakian, exposed expensive donations made to the municipality.
Khazhakian claimed that private firms donated dozens of garbage collection trucks and other equipment in return for construction permits issued by Yerevan Mayor Hayk Marutian. Marutian, who is allied to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, strongly denied such a quid pro quo.
The LHK collected in December a sufficient number of signatures in the Armenian parliament for the creation of an ad hoc commission tasked with investigating “corruption risks” in the mayor’s office. The parliament’s pro-government majority refused to give the green light for the commission’s activities on Wednesday, however, sparking a bitter war of words between senior lawmakers representing the LHK and Pashinian’s My Step bloc.
My Step parliamentarians said that Armenian law does not allow the National Assembly to interfere in the work of local government bodies. They said such a commission can only be set up by the city council. Pashinian personally endorsed this position.
Marukian again dismissed the official rationale for not investigating the municipality, saying that the authorities simply “decided to save their teammate” from an embarrassing corruption scandal.
“These people are increasingly losing their heads,” charged the leader one of the two opposition groups represented in the current parliament. “They are blindly going forward, thinking that the people’s trust is unlimited and perpetual and that they can do anything they want.”
Marukian also complained that Pashinian’s political team has failed to reciprocate what he described as the LHK’s goodwill towards it. He said his party has turned blind eye to many of the current government’s failings for fear of a potential “counterrevolution” in Armenia. From now on it will be far more outspoken in challenging government policies, added the LHK leader.