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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan: “Armenia is Entering a Historic Stage of Development”

An extraordinary Cabinet meeting was held today, chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

Prior to discussing the agenda, the Prime Minister declared that he was going to make a statement later today. “Armenia is entering a historic stage of development, which will bring to completion the non-violent velvet revolution that we carried out this spring. I will make a relevant statement later today,” the Premier said.

The Head of Government congratulated the newly appointed ministers of Economic Development and Investments, and Agriculture.

The Cabinet approved the Government’s legislative initiative on a package of amendments to the Electoral Code of the Republic of Armenia and some related laws. The most important goal of the reform of the electoral legislation is to establish a democratic electoral institute in Armenia. The proposed amendments address a number of fundamental issues: elimination of territorial lists of candidates, adoption of a simple proportional electoral system, removal of restrictions on coalition formation and extension of the applicable timeframes, lowering the minimum threshold for political parties to enter the Parliament, reducing the amount of election deposit, and guaranteeing that at least 4 parties (party alliances) are elected to the National Assembly, as well as enhancing women’s representation quota and removing the system of bonuses.

Additional mechanisms are envisaged, in particular, increasing the accuracy and efficiency of voter lists, which implies restrictions on the right to vote by means of invalid identity documents, and ensuring that all voters have valid identification papers in Armenia. A mechanism has been envisaged for excluding those individuals recognized as non-eligible by the court; this issue will be further streamlined in the context of the constitutional amendments.

Touching upon the package of amendments to the Electoral Code, Nikol Pashinyan stressed that they are aimed at simplifying the voting process. In order to discuss the package of bills, the Government decided to ask the National Assembly Speaker to convene an extraordinary National Assembly sitting on October 22, at 11:00 local time.

According to the government’s decision, David Gevorgyan, Hunan Poghosyan and Hambardzum Matevosyan were appointed to be Aragatsotn, Syunik and Armavir marz governors respectively. Touching upon the appointments, Prime Minister Pashinyan stated, in part, “The most important challenge for us is to bring to completion Armenia’s non-violent velvet revolution after the snap parliamentary elections, and involve the consolidated potential of our country and people in Armenia’s development process. In this respect, I find it extremely important to ensure that no one comes to deem that life is over in the Republic of Armenia after the revolution.

This very logic implies that we should not allow the development of a phenomenon that could conditionally be called political racism when people might be exposed to persecution and ill-treatment solely because they have been related to the former government in a way or another. We have such people in our government as well. I think the time has come for full national consolidation.

Today’s appointment of three regional governors is emblematic in this respect: one of them has been an active participant of the revolution, while Mr. Poghosyan was on the other side of barricades or barbed wire during the revolution just as Mr. Osipyan, Mr. Vanetsyan and our other colleagues did. And finally, the third governor, Mr. Matevosyan, is a politically neutral figure.

In this regard, we are shaping our understanding of the future. None of us has immunity, including the current and former officials and other citizens in the Republic of Armenia. And we must understand that the appointment or dismissal of one of us cannot be interpreted as an advantage or vulnerability before the law. I think we are on the right path in our effort to mobilize the country’s potential and put it at the service of our statehood and people.”

In conclusion, Prime Minister Pashinyan congratulated the newly appointed Marz Governors and wished them every success and effective work.

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