After a 20-minute recess, the new bill on the funded pension system was put to a vote in Armenia's National Assembly on Saturday. Only the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) MPs participated in the vote, after which Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF-D) MP Artsvik Minasyan asked to keep the voting results on the screen for a little while longer to see specifically who from the ruling party voted.
According to him, HHK MPs voted for their absent colleagues.
Speaker of Parliament Galust Sahakyan continued the session, moving on to the next issue. ARF-D MP Aghvan Vardanyan asked for the right to speak, saying it's not "manly" to vote for someone else.
Minasyan, in turn, said that the number of HHK and independent (no party affiliation) MPs combined is 64, while the voting results showed that 67 people voted in favor of the bill. Note, 66 votes are needed for a law to be adopted.
HHK MP Spartak Melikyan asked for the right to speak, denying that he voted for someone else. "If some people have problems with their vision, there are hospitals — let them go and get checked. If anyone doubts my manliness [meaning, courage], there are places to prove [one’s] manliness. I can show you," he said.
Before moving on to the next issue, the opposition asked for a 20-minute recess, but the parliamentary speaker denied the request.
"Never in my life have I felt so humiliated. You are adopting a law that you know 80% of society opposes. We need a recess," said Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) MP Vartan Oskanian.
Since the parliamentary speaker did not declare a recess, representatives of the non-ruling parties (ARF-D, Heritage Party, BHK, Armenian National Congress) left the chamber.
Recall, the new draft law makes pension contributions mandatory for civil servants.