Armenian pro-government MP urges opposition to return to parliament

Armenian pro-government MP urges opposition to return to parliament

Haykakan Zhamanak, Yerevan
3 Jul 04

Text of Naira Zograbyan’s report by Armenian newspaper Haykakan
Zhamanak on 3 July headlined “The opposition is outlawed”

An interview with the leader of the National Assembly faction of the
Republican Party of Armenia, Galust Saakyan.

[Haykakan Zhamanak correspondent] Mr Saakyan, there are rumours that
the high echelons of the authorities have already adopted a decision
to regard the absence of the deputies of the Justice and National
Unity blocs as inappropriate and deprive them of deputy mandates.

[Galust Saakyan] No such decision has been adopted. Simply there is a
situation where the opposition has found itself outlawed, and there
are no legal grounds to consider their absence from the National
Assembly to be appropriate. Their return to the parliament will be
difficult, as a legal solution to the problem demands that they be
deprived of their deputy mandates. The opposition can return to the
parliament only as a result of a political agreement. I think it would
be right for the opposition not to miss the chance to return to the
parliament by means of a political agreement.

[Correspondent] Why is the coalition interested in returning the
opposition to the National Assembly?

[Saakyan] The opposition is obliged to return to the parliament, as
there are quite serious problems in the world, as well as within the
country, which are above party and personal interests. First of all,
it is the Karabakh issue, as it is no secret that certain problems
connected with the Karabakh issue may arise in foreign relations. This
is an issue that demands the unification of the opposition and
pro-government forces. But if the opposition sticks to its tough
position and does not return to the parliament, this opposition will
be finally regarded as incomplete and will be seen as a power-hungry
opposition force.

[Correspondent] But the leaders of the opposition say that their
position on the matter of returning to the parliament has not changed.

[Saakyan] In the future, we shall end up facing much more serious
challenges whose culmination is the Karabakh issue. For this reason,
it is necessary for political forces to unite their position on this
matter as was the case in 2001 when all the political forces signed
the known document on the Karabakh issue. And today when processes
around the Karabakh issue are intensifying, the fact that the
opposition is not returning to the parliament will be negatively
accepted by the world community as well. The opposition’s rating has
fallen and will come to nought if they dissociate themselves from the
Karabakh issue. For four months now, the opposition has been staging
rallies and no analytical material concerning the Karabakh issue has
been submitted to society. So, we cannot but think that the actions of
the opposition are directed by different external forces. For this
reason, I think the expected developments around the Karabakh issue
may prompt the opposition to return to the parliament and start its
natural work there.

[Correspondent] Mr Saakyan, if there are problems whose settlement
requires the unification of the whole political field, why do you not
regard their political boycott as appropriate?

[Saakyan] Political boycott is not regulated by the law. In the legal
field, they have no choice but to return to the parliament. In summer,
representatives of the Republican Party of Armenia will try to explain
to them the need to return to the parliament. If we agree, it will be
only a political agreement. There is no other option. But if the
opposition rejects a political agreement, then I shall be the first to
deprive them of their deputy mandates.

[Correspondent] If you do not reach agreement and the opposition does
not come to the parliament in September, is there any way that this
will create a political situation that can be settled only by means of
extraordinary parliamentary elections?

[Saakyan] If the opposition boycotts the autumn session as well and if
there is a new political situation whose final settlement are
extraordinary parliamentary elections, then for me, as a member of the
Republican Party, it may be a very appropriate moment. I am sure that
in the elections, the Republican Party will gain more votes than it
has today. But we should not think only about our own narrow party
interests. The Republican Party will try to persuade the opposition to
return to the parliament, at least we have put forward our
suggestion. The opposition should reply to this. If there is no
political agreement, then the law will step in.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress