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Republican MP Sees ‘Nothing Strange’ in Ruling Party Using State Finances for Own Needs

Khosrov Harutyunyan, an MP from the ruling Republican Party (RPA) parliamentary faction, confirmed at a National Assembly sitting today that an international loan that was taken by the Armenian government in 2015 will also be used by the ruling party for implementation of its programs during 2017 general election campaign. 

At the sitting on Thursday, lawmakers discussed the $40 million loan agreement signed between the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and Armenia on August 26, 2015; the loan was provided to the country as additional financing for its Lifeline Roads Network Improvement Project.

Before the the loan's approval was put to vote, opposition Armenian National Congress MP Nikol Pashinyan asked that rapporteur Harutyunyan provide information on when the state last spent money on the roads that need major reconstruction. The oppositionist noted that $11 million from the loan, they knew, are planned to be used in 2016. As for the remaining $30 million, Pashinyan predicted that the Republican Party intends to use it as part of its 2017 election campaign: “The notable Republican MPs will claim all credit for [road renovations] and try to convince the people that they are doing actual work. In reality, however, the money for it will be laid on the necks of people and the state. Why should Armenia take a $30-40 million loan for the Republican Party's campaign needs? Can you, as a RPA representative, guarantee that the asphalting programs of 2017 have no relation to the Republicans' activities?”

Harutyunyan replied, saying that “everyone who's ever come to power has done the same.” “The Republican Party is not doing anything out of the ordinary. Yes, it's made election promises, and is now carrying them out, using both state budget and savings. That's the reality. Does it look strange to you? Do you think that German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave up foreign debt when she came to power? No. Haven't our former political authorities done the same? Of course, they have. There's nothing illogical here,” the Republican lawmaker stated.

“I wouldn't know, I've never been in power,” Pashinyan replied, laughing. “You've confirmed my fears, and this can be regarded as a pre-election loan for the RPA. Therefore, I'm going to vote against its approval,” Pashinyan added.