After The Snap Elections


Daily says three committees in Armenian parliament to be controlled by opposition
/Dec 21/ARKA/

YEREVAN, Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s My Step alliance that won the December 9 snap parliamentary elections, confirmed that Ararat Mirzoyan will resign as first deputy prime minister to become chairman of the National Assembly. 

Two other senior members of the alliance, Lena Nazaryan and Alen Simonyan, will take over as Mirzoyan’s deputies.
Under Armenian law, the third post of deputy parliament speaker is to be given to the parliamentary opposition- either to a representative of the Prosperous Armenia (BHK) or Bright Armenia, which will have 26 and 18 parliament seats respectively.
A local daily ‘Hraparak’ says in its today’s issue that the parliamentary committees on European integration, financial and budgetary issues, as well as protection of human rights will be also controlled by the opposition.
The daily claims that the committee on financial and budgetary issues, in all likelihood, will be headed by Mikael Melkonyan from the Prosperous Armenia, while the committee on European integration will be controlled by another member of the party Naira Zohrabyan.
The newspaper also writes that yesterday Edmon Marukyan, the leader of the Bright Armenia urged the authorities to ignore the D’Hondt method when allocating parliamentary committees (D’Hondt method or the Jefferson method is a highest averages method for allocating seats, and is thus a type of party-list proportional representation), and entrust them more than one committee, because “only then we can talk about democracy and  the counterbalance to the authorities.”

Five ministries to be cut in Armenia
/Dec 24/Aysor/

According to the official draft decision of the Armenian government, 5 ministries will be cut in Armenia – Diaspora, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Agriculture and Energy ministries, vice speaker of the parliament, Republican party member Arpine Hovhannisyan says.

“As it was expected the new government has not made us wait long. Only a week after publication of voting results the government puts into circulation bill on making changes and amendments in the law on Government’s structure and activity,” Hovhannisyan said.

According to the bill five ministries will be united with others.

Hovhannisyan said the bill will create two direct impacts with the first and most painful one the unavoidable staff cuts.

“Leaving the people without jobs in the New Year the “person-oriented” government once again reiterated that it acts with the principle of finding not right but easy solutions,” she said, adding that their party has voiced about it throughout the campaign but people believed Pashinyan.

She said she will refer to the other surprise prepared by the government for state employees after New Year holidays.

Bill on Government’s restructure to be discussed on January 14
/Dec 24/Aysor/

The Armenian government has put into circulation the bill on making changes in the Armenian law on the structure of the government and its activity which proposes cutting the number of ministries from existing 17 to 12.
The government proposes to have the following ministries:
Labor and Social Affairs Ministry
Health Ministry
Justice Ministry
Emergency Situations Ministry
Foreign Affairs Ministry
Nature Protection Ministry
Education, Science, Culture and Sport Ministry
Defense Ministry
Territorial Administration and Infrastructures Ministry
High Technology and Military Industry Ministry
Economic Development and Agricultural Ministry
Finance Ministry.

The post of first deputy PM is being withdrawn. The PM will have two deputies.
According to the bill, territorial administration and development ministry, state property management committee, water committee unite with energy infrastructures and natural resources ministry. In its turn energy infrastructures and natural resources ministry renames into territorial administration and infrastructures ministry.
Culture, education and science and sport and youth affairs ministries will become one ministry.

Agriculture ministry unites with economic development and investments ministry and will be named economic development and agricultural ministry.
Military industrial committee unites with Transport, Communication and IT ministry and will be named high technology and military-industry ministry.

According to the bill, the Diaspora ministry stops functioning.
If adopted, the bill will enter into force from January 1, 2019. The bill has not been put for wide discussion yet. It is expected to be discussed at the first session of the new parliament on January 14.

Political forces continue to protest the government`s decision to disband a number of ministries
/Dec 24/Arminfo/Tatevik Shahunyan/

Armenian political forces continue to protest against the government’s decision to diband a number of ministries.

The ”Orinats Yerkir” party made a corresponding statement, which called the decision of the RA government hasty and unreasonable. The party is especially concerned about decisions to disband the Ministries of Culture and the Diaspora. “If for some reason it was not possible to organize the efficient work of these ministries, this does not mean that they should be disbanded. It is just necessary to increase the efficiency of the work of these departments, “the party said in a statement.  The Communist Party of Armenia also made a statement on this issue. The statement of the Armenian Communists, in particular, states: “Without denying the need to improve the efficiency of the state system through optimization, we note that it seems that the Cabinet of Ministers intends to solve this problem only through massive cuts. These reductions are not a guarantee of increased efficiency, which is fraught with serious social consequences. We urge the government to revise the draft law, while showing prudence and not following the path of shock therapy, which in the first half of the 1990s had devastating consequences in Armenia, “the statement reads.

Similar statements were made earlier by the Democratic Party and the Republican Party of Armenia.  Meanwhile, acting Armenian Prime  Minister Nikol Pashinyan, commenting on the protests in connection  with the government’s decision to disband five ministries – the  Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Diaspora, the Ministry of Sports  and Youth Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of  Energy and Natural Resources, as well as the threat of their  employees about the strike, said: Let Culture minsitry’s employees  strike for 6 months, and we will see if anything changes in the  cultural life of the country. And in general, even before the elections, we talked about optimizing the state apparatus, and the people, knowing this, gave us a vote of confidence. A huge number of public sector employees received their work in gratitude for having provided several votes for the Republican Party at the time of the elections.  

At the same time, he assured that by reducing the state apparatus, the government creates an opportunity for its employees to “launch their business” if they do not receive new proposals. ”In Armenia, saying ”work”, they usually meant some kind of public service. No, we create an opportunity for each person to open job for him/herself, in case of not receiving job proposals. Probably for the first time after the collapse of the USSR, the Government provides funds for artists to go to schools and present their skills to children.  Specific financing has been allocated for this, “Pashinyan said. He also said that taxpayers can hope that their taxes paid are used efficiently. According to him, the savings saved as a result of reductions will be spent on salary increases, so that the cabinet could demand high-quality work from its employees. 

Media sources speculating over optimization of ministries in Armenia
/Dec 25/ARKA/

YEREVAN – The word of optimization of ministries in Armenia was taken as a death notification by the ministries’ personnel, Hraparak reports.
In accordance with the project, some agencies will merge, and their staff will be cut.  
For example, the ministry of Diaspora will be closed, and its functions will be handed over to the foreign ministry.  
The transport, communication and information technology ministry will be transformed into the high technology and military industry ministry, and transport area will be handed over to the territorial administration and energy ministry and to the state revenue committee. 
The agriculture ministry will merge with the ministry of economic development, and the education and science ministry, the culture ministry and sports ministry will merge into a single ministry as well. 
According to Hraparak, the project was released to public yesterday. It will be discussed by the government and then will be sent to the National Assembly for approval. 
Another newspaper, Zhamanak, says that the government has not made its final decision so far, and there are fears that the decision may affect the entire state-governing system.   
The newspaper’s analysts are especially concerned over the merger of the health ministry and social affairs ministry, “since the experience of other countries shows that this leads to collapse of social policy almost always”.

Public council to be created under each minister
/Dec 27/

YEREVAN – Public Councils will be created under each minister with the purpose of ensuring the participation of the civil society.

During today’s Cabinet meeting caretaker justice minister Artak Zeynalyan said that the councils will support the more efficient implementation of the tasks and missions of the given ministry by submitting recommendations and proposals.