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Opposition Calls For Lifting Martial Law In Armenia


The Armenian parliament in session (archive photo)

Opposition factions in the Armenian parliament have called for an end to martial law that was introduced in Armenia when a war with Azerbaijan broke out in Nagorno-Karabakh in late September.

This is the third time the Armenian parliamentary opposition has raised the issue since the end of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh.

During a Monday session of the parliament’s defense committee the Prosperous Armenia and Bright Armenia factions claimed that the government has maintained martial law since a Russian-brokered ceasefire was established in Nagorno-Karabakh on November 10 for political purposes.

Prosperous Armenia lawmaker Arman Abovian said martial law “does not correspond to the current situation and is a serious obstacle to political developments.”

In particular, he pointed out one of the provision of martial law under which during its effect the prime minister cannot be impeached.

Edmon Marukian, the head of the opposition Bright Armenia faction, also claimed that martial law is currently maintained only for political purposes.

“The parliamentary opposition cannot start a no-confidence motion during martial law. In Yerevan’s municipal assembly lawmakers cannot start a no-confidence vote in the mayor and so on. Elections that were scheduled in the town of Ijevan and some other communities have been postponed because the martial law has not been lifted yet,” he said.

Pro-government lawmakers who sit on the committee said they were in favor of ending martial law but in due time. They said that most restrictions pertaining to freedom of assembly and speech were lifted still in December.

“If all the grounds for martial law are eliminated, of course, this martial law will be lifted as early as possible,” said Armen Khachatrian, a member of the majority My Step faction.

At the same time, Khachatrian said that he expected the government to initiate a bill to lift martial law “within the next 7 or 10 days.”

The committee’s pro-government head Andranik Kocharian said, for his part, that the sooner political agreements are reached about holding snap elections, the sooner the current martial law regime will be abolished. “The sooner we create harmonious political conditions or reach consensus, the sooner martial law will be lifted, because there will be snap elections, and there can be no elections during the effect of martial law,” he said.

Eventually, the pro-government members of the defense committee did not give a positive conclusion to the opposition bill.

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