By Gayane Lazarian

17.07.12 | 14:34

The initiative of the Armenian National Congress (ANC) to call
a special session of the National Assembly (NA) related to the
Harsnakar restaurant case failed, as the petition gathered only
21 of the 44 necessary signatures. Significantly, only seven of
Prosperous Armenia Party's 37 deputies joined the initiative. PAP is
the largest parliamentary political force which is not part of the
ruling coalition.

(ANC called for the special session to discuss a murder that took
place at the restaurant owned by a Parliament Deputy.)

The lack of PAP cooperation has again raised debate on whether the
party considers itself "opposition" even though it chose to not join
the ruling coalition.

PAP faction secretary Naira Zohrabyan stated that currently the NA is
enjoying a "semi-holiday" period, and it is not realistic to collect
44 signatures.

"Those PAP lawmakers who are in Armenia and found it expedient,
have joined the petition," Zohrabyan says.

Vahan Hovhannisyan, head of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation
(ARF, Dashnaktsutyun), says that the petition itself is a political
act even without an NA session.

"People must finally understand the difference between the opposition,
authorities and a new political term - an alternative [this is the
way the PAP calls itself]. How do they correlate with each other,
and where is it possible to expect cooperation? Had there been a
desire to join the petition, they [PAP lawmakers] would have done it,"
Hovhannisyan says.

Former NA lawmaker, member of Heritage Party Armen Martirosyan says
that the PAP has never announced that it is an opposition, and only
the ANC wants to see it as such.

Zohrabyan says that when the Parliament Speaker turned down the
suggestion of the four NA factions to call the representatives of the
law enforcement system to provide some clarification on the Harsnakar
case, then the next step should have been sending written inquiries
to the law enforcement bodies.

"When the parliament starts working in autumn, the parliamentary
hearings, as well as issues related to calling a special session will
be discussed," Zohrabyan says.

Levon Zurabyan, head of the ANC faction, does not believe that the
inability to collect 44 signatures is a failure, but instead he states
that the initiative was a kind of indication that the non-coalition
factions can cooperate.

"The number of collected signatures is a serious warning message
addressed to these authorities, and if the authorities do not learn a
lesson from it, in a few weeks we may collect more than 44 signatures,"
Zurabyan says.

From: A. Papazian