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Civil Society Organizations Demand Parliamentary Ethics Oversight 

“Asparez” Journalists’ Club, Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor, Open Society Foundations – Armenia, Transparency International anti-corruption center, Artak Kyurumyan have released an open statement condemning the violent incidents at the National Assembly and demanding establishment of an Ethics Committee.

Civil society organizations condemn what happened in May 8 at the Parliament and place the responsibility for the violence over the ruling majority of Armenia. In their statement, they claim that the criminal counter-culture peculiar to the previous parliaments that operated under conditions of seizure of the state, was not eradicated.

“We strongly condemn violence in general, but if it finds place in public relations and within the governing bodies, then we demand the leadership of the National Assembly to take measures to completely eradicate from the parliament violent, immoral behavior incompatible with a democratic state with rule of law. The parliamentary majority, in charge of what has happened, has legal and ample powers to stop this culture of violence.”

The signatories of the statement demand to urgently set up an Ethics Committee to immediately examine what happened on May 8, but also to consider having a standing committee on ethics and good conduct. They also demand adequate characterization of what happened, bringing those in charge to liability, including by discussing that certain MPs put down their mandates. There should be no privileged people in the Republic of Armenia, they say.

Signatories point out to the derogatory and violent words expressed in the past few weeks in the Parliament, including with the participation of Deputy Speaker Alen Simonyan, oppositional Edmon Marukyan of Bright Armenia, Babken Tunyan and Sasoun Mikayelyan of “My Step” emphasizing that MPs expressing personal insults and threats of violence to each other and indirectly should be held accountable and such vocabulary should be eradicated from Armenia’s parliament.

“The number one political podium should exclusively serve to civilized political and ideological debate,” state the signatories pointing out that the parliamentary majority that enjoys the trust of the revolutionary people should feel accountable to the people for the commitments it has taken up and should not carry the cynical and empty features peculiar to the ousted forces.