ARMENIA FOR SALE: OPPOSITION SAYS GOVERNMENT ACTED ILLEGALLY IN SELLING OFF RESOURCES
Politics | 26.03.14 | 15:02
By Gayane Lazarian
The Armenian parliament has adopted by first hearing the bill on
changes and amendments to the law On State Property Administration,
qualified by the four oppositional factions as anti-constitutional.
The opposition forces say the Government is attempting to make the
sale of Vorotan Hydro Power Plant and ArmRosGasProm Company’s remaining
20 percent stock look legal.
Last year a US-based Contour Global company purchased Vorotan complex
of hydropower plants comprising of Spandaryan, Shamb and Tatev HPPs.
This was the biggest American investment in Armenia. Oppositional
Armenian National Congress (ANC) faction member Lyudmila Sargsyan
says this sale is perceived as a “traditional kickback”. ANC faction
leader Levon Zurabyan believes the deal was made with violations of
the law and without the parliament consent.
The sale of ArmRosGasProm Company’s remaining 20 percent stock that
still belonged to the Armenian side and the company’s handover to
Russia is also seen by the opposition as an illegal deal, because
it was state property and the Government did not have the parliament
approval to sell.
“The government has violated the law. And one more important
circumstance – that 20 percent of stock was the property of all of
us, hence the government had no right to administer that 20 percent
as a payback for private company expenses,” says ANC MP Aram Manukyan.
The oppositional law-makers say the government has no issues or
difficulties in terms of state property because it has an overwhelming
majority in the parliament who vote for any property privatization
Parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamyan says he will come back to the
bill after the first hearing and, if necessary, public hearings will
On March 24, the parliament finished discussing the controversial
bill, by which the National Assembly’s approval for state property
privatization would no longer be required. What this means is that
after introducing the changes in the law the government, in effect,
can quietly alienate entities of highest state importance, skipping
public discussions, hence sparing itself from criticism.