Armenian law entitles opposition lawmakers to heading three of the parliament’ 12 standing committees. It stipulates that the deputy chairpersons of several other parliamentary panels should also represent the opposition minority in the National Assembly.
The main opposition Hayastan alliance nominated this summer one of its lawmakers, Artur Ghazinian, as deputy head of the parliament committee on defense and security. He was also backed by the Pativ Unem bloc, the second parliamentary opposition force.
Seven members of the 11-member committee representing the ruling Civil Contract party have blocked Ghazinian’s appointment since then. Some of them have cited Ghazinian’s harsh criticism of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s handling of last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Hayastan responded by re-nominating him for the vacant post for 13 more times.
A senior Civil Contract lawmaker, Armen Khachatrian, again demanded on Tuesday that the opposition minority propose another candidate.
“I won’t name names today there are opposition members of the committee who are acceptable candidates for us,” Khachatrian told reporters.
“We could have appointed our candidate today or a week ago, which could have been totally legitimate and legal … and closed the issue,” he said. “But this is a political decision to enable the opposition to field its candidate.”
Hayastan’s Gegham Manukian rejected the demand, saying that the opposition alliance is continuing to insist on Ghazinian’s candidacy. “Nobody can impose their will on us,” he said.