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Opposition Lawmaker Stripped Of Parliament Post


Armenia - The Prosperous Armenia Party's Naira Zohrabian speaks at a news conference in Yerevan, December 28, 2020.

The Armenian parliament voted on Tuesday to dismiss the chairwoman of its standing committee on human rights representing the opposition Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK).

The parliamentary majority representing the ruling My Step bloc engineered the move in response to what it regards as offensive comments posted by the BHK’s Naira Zohrabian on Facebook.

In an apparent attack on hardcore supporters of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, Zohrabian last week lambasted “scum” which she said has taken over Armenia and is responsible for its recent misfortunes. She said it must be disenfranchised and even forcibly “educated” for the good of the country.

“I am not going to hand over my homeland to the scum,” wrote the outspoken parliamentarian.

Pro-government lawmakers were quick to condemn the comments. They said that Zohrabian lost her moral right to lead the parliamentary committee because she not only insulted hundreds of thousands of Armenians but also called for them to be stripped of their civil rights.

Zohrabian denied insulting anyone when she spoke to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service at the weekend. But she also said: “I regard all those who believe Nikol was right to surrender Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) … as scum.”

Zohrabian claimed that the My Step motion to strip her of her parliamentary position is “political persecution” ordered Pashinian. She said on Monday that she will appeal to the Constitutional Court if the parliamentary majority approves it.

The National Assembly adopted the motion by 78 votes to 4. BHK deputies boycotted the vote.

Zohrabian’s BHK is part of a coalition of more than a dozen opposition parties that have been holding demonstrations in a bid to force Pashinian to resign. They blame him for Armenia’s defeat in the recent war in Karabakh and say he is not capable of dealing with security challenges facing the country.

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