YEREVAN—Armenia’s National Assembly approved on Thursday Armenia’s new government’s program with 62 votes for and 39 against.
The government’s policy program calls for sweeping reforms and measures against corruption. The program also calls for snap parliamentary elections in the country.
The program notes that Armenia’s current parliament does not reflect the “real political mood” of the people of Armenia and that free, fair, and democratic elections must be held within a year.
Most of the 52 deputies representing the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) voted against the proposed program, though the party’s leadership ensured that some of its members backed the plan so that it would pass. Snap parliamentary elections would have been called for early next month if the program was not approved by the National Assembly.
In his hour-long address to parliament, Prime minister Nikol Pashinyan did not specify possible election dates. The call for early elections are also backed by the Tsarukyan alliance and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), Pashinyan’s parliamentary partners
According to RFE/RL’s Armenian service, the approved program commits Pashinyan’s newly appointed cabinet to reinforcing the rule of law, eliminating widespread corruption, and achieving substantial and inclusive economic growth. The program also looks to eliminate monopolies and to create equal business opportunities for all.
“I said at a recent meeting with a group of entrepreneurs and want to repeat that all businesspeople in Armenia are now exempt from all kinds of corrupt obligations [to state officials]… Any prosecutor, police chief, tax inspector or minister who will try to grab a share in a business or impose a ‘duty’ on any business owner will be my personal enemy and will have to brace for a crushing blow from the state and the law,” Pashinyan remarked, according to RFE/RL’s English translation. “The system of economic monopolies is living its last days in Armenia … Everyone will be taxed in the same way and by the same laws,” he added
ARF leader Armen Rustamyan defended the government program, noting that the new government is committed to “eliminating hurdles hampering our progress.”