A relevant bill presented by the opposition Prosperous Armenia and Bright Armenia factions was supported by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s majority alliance.
The vote taken in parliament went 118 to 1 in favor of the bill, with one lawmaker abstaining from voting.
Pashinian signed a trilateral statement with the presidents of Azerbaijan and Russia on November 9 to put an end to six-week hostilities on November 9, but the martial law regime was maintained in Armenia that got hundreds of kilometers of new borders with Azerbaijan as a result of the defeat suffered by Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Yerevan refused to lift martial law even after Baku did so in December, but it still removed some restrictions affecting freedom of speech and assembly as well as international travel.
The two opposition factions in the Armenian parliament twice sought to have martial law abolished, but their initiatives were thwarted by the parliament majority represented by the Pashinian-led My Step bloc.
Prosperous Armenia and Bright Armenia, as well as extra-parliamentary parties and groups have accused the government of maintaining martial law for political reasons. In particular, they have claimed that the prime minister needs martial law to prevent the opposition from impeaching him over mishandling the war. The government has rejected the accusations as groundless.
This time around, however, My Step indicated that it would not oppose the opposition’s move to abolish martial law.
It also explained it by the consensus achieved by the parliament’s majority and minority factions about the need to hold early elections soon, which will require abolishing martial law first.
Prime Minister Pashinian said last week that early parliamentary elections in Armenia will be held on June 20.
Parliament Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan, who represents My Step, said on Tuesday that it would be better if the government had initiated the bill, but still called on the parliament majority to vote in favor of lifting martial law “out of solidarity” with the opposition.
“This is at least a way to resolve the situation, restore political stability in one way or another. Taking into account all these factors, I suggest granting the initiative of the parliamentary opposition and voting for this bill to abolish martial law perhaps five or seven days earlier than it would make sense,” Mirzoyan said.
Under Armenia’s law, the parliament speaker signs and publishes a bill on abolishing martial law immediately after its passage.