RFE/RL – Constitutional Court Refuses To Reinstate Opposition Lawmaker

Ապրիլ 13, 2021

Armenia – Naira Zohrabian, a senior member of the Prosperous Armenia Party, holds a press conference, December 28, 2020

The Constitutional Court has refused to declare unconstitutional the recent dismissal of the chairwoman of an Armenian parliament committee representing the opposition Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK).

The outspoken lawmaker, Naira Zohrabian, was replaced as head of the committee on human rights in late December for what the parliament’s pro-government majority described as offensive comments posted by her on Facebook.

In an apparent attack on hardcore supporters of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, Zohrabian lambasted the “scum” which she said has taken over Armenia and is responsible for its recent misfortunes. She said it must be disenfranchised and even forcibly “educated” for the good of the country.

Deputies from Pashinian’s My Step bloc condemned Zohrabian, saying that she not only insulted hundreds of thousands of Armenians but also called for them to be stripped of their civil rights.

Zohrabian denied insulting anyone and claimed that My Step’s decision to strip her of her parliamentary position is “political persecution” ordered Pashinian. She went on to appeal to the Constitutional Court.

The court ruled on Tuesday that her removal did not breach any constitutional provisions guaranteeing political pluralism and freedom of _expression_. A spokeswoman for the court, Yeva Tovmasian, said the ruling will be made public later this week.

Zohrabian’s BHK has the second largest group in the current parliament. The party led by businessman Gagik Tsarukian is part of an opposition alliance that has blamed Pashinian for Armenia’s defeat in the recent war in Karabakh and demanded his resignation.

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS