YEREVAN (A.W.)—The Armenian parliament voted on Dec. 16 to allow parliamentarians to be able to switch political parties. The National Assembly also gave parliamentary factions the authority to expel opposing members from their ranks.
According to the current statute, only a limited number of deputies are allowed to leave their parties. In order to leave the party, they have to have been elected to the 131 seat legislature from one of Armenia’s 41 single seat constituencies or held one of the top three places on the electoral list of those parties. In the new statute, there are no such restrictions.
The parliament passed this measure following a debate among parties that led to criticism from both opposition deputies and pro-government colleagues.
According to RFE/RL’s Armenian service Azatutyun.am, Republican Party (RPA) member Levon Martirosyan stated that the measure regarding the expulsion of deputies opposing the party was unconstitutional, while Naira Zohrabyan supported the measure. “If a deputy thinks for some reason that their noble ideas do not match those of their faction and acts against [the faction] … they should not keep enjoying all rights of the faction, while giving interviews discrediting it,” she said, reported Azatutyun.am.