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Speaker of Armenian Parliament Prevents Discussion of Electricity Tariff Rise

On Monday, the first day of the next four-day sittings of the National Assembly of Armenia, the MPs raised the issue of the possible rise in electricity prices. NA Speaker Galust Sahakyan said that the issue was not included in the agenda, and interrupted the MPs several times, turning off their microphones. Some members of the Parliament, however, managed to express an opinion on the issue. 

In particular, Hrant Bagratyan, economist and member of the opposition faction “Armenian National Congress”, called the hike in prices a disaster, which, he said, would lead to a 15 percent economic decline.

“We don't need to bring [RA Public Services Regulatory Commission Chairman] Robert Nazaryan here. He can't say anything,” Bagratyan stated. 

Electricity in Ukraine and Russia, the MP said, costs 12 and 20 AMD, respectively, while the "Electric Networks of Armenia" submitted an application to increase the tariff to 58 drams.

Another member of  “Armenian National Congress” faction Nikol Pashinyan stated the issue of the electricity prices could not be discussed after the fact. Parliament, the MP said, should not sit on the fence, because the people who elected them have a straight demand – to discuss such an important issue in the National Assembly. In addition, the question of how to "Electric Networks of Armenia" has accumulated a nearly $300 million debt must be addressed. 

 “Armenian National Congress” faction leader Levon Zurabyan also believed that the issue should be included in the NA agenda. The factions, he reminded, had organized a petition to discuss the issue in an urgent manner. Here Galust Sahakyan turned off Zurabyan's microphone; later the same thing happened to the “Heritage” faction member Ruben Hakobyan and “Rule of Law” faction MP Heghine Bisharyan, which resulted in an uproar in the NA. 

Nikol Pashinyan condemned the Speaker's decision to turn off the microphones, proposing to eliminate them altogether.