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Ruling Party Designates New Armenian Parliament Speaker


Armenia -- Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, parliament speaker Ararat Mirzoyan (C) and his deputy Alen Simonian (R) arrive for the Armenian government's question-and-answer session in the National Assembly, Yerevan, March 3, 2021.

The ruling Civil Contract party confirmed on Monday reports that it will install one of its leading members, Alen Simonian, as the speaker of Armenia’s newly elected parliament.

The party headed by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian will control 71 seats in the 107-member National Assembly and be in a position to appoint its leadership.

“I don’t know if he nominated himself or anybody else nominated him, but as a result of votes, the party has decided that Alen Simonian will be our candidate for chairman of the National Assembly,” Hrachya Hakobian, Pashinian’s brother-in-law and a member of the outgoing parliament, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

Hakobian said he does not know whether Ararat Mirzoyan, the outgoing parliament speaker and another close Pashinian associate, himself chose not to continue to hold the position.

Mirzoyan kept a low profile during the recent parliamentary election campaign, raising more questions about his relationship with Pashinian. It is not yet clear whether he will be appointed to another position in the legislative or executive branch.

By contrast, Simonian attended virtually all campaign rallies by the prime minister. The 40-year-old is one of the outgoing parliament’s three deputy speakers.

According to Hakobian, the ruling party has also designated two of the new parliament’s three vice-speakers: Ruben Rubinian and Hakob Arshakian. Both men are affiliated with Civil Contract.

Rubinian is currently the chairman of the parliament committee on foreign relations, while Arshakian is Armenia’s former minister of high-tech industry. The latter resigned in March after assaulting a journalist at a restaurant in Yerevan.

The new Armenian parliament is expected to hold its inaugural session on August 2.

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