On June 5th, during the urgent council meeting of the Prosperous Armenia party, the leader of the party Gagik Tsarukyan harshly criticized the government.
“There is an issue, a problem, and the people have something to say. There are promises that the people have been impatiently waiting so far to become reality. […] If they want to realize these promises they have to change the 97% of the [staff], you all remember this. But today, seeing all these failures, I can say for sure that it should be changed not by 97%, but by 100%, because with all their work and results they have failed in every field.” –announced Tsarukyan.
Tsarukyan’s speech was not received unequivocally. Representatives of the “Civil Contract” party and the “My Step” faction opposed Tsarukyan immediately. Alen Simonyan, Vice Speaker of the National Assembly, when asked whether there will be a response statement, announced:
“No, there will be no announcement. When some parties say something, should we hurry to make a quick statement so that the party can just say something? Here, I’m talking, my colleagues are talking, consider it a response. Why should we make a statement for that? ”
Earlier, in response to Tsarukyan’s statement, Lilit Makunts, the leader of the “My Step” faction of the National Assembly, had made a post on her Facebook page and had indirectly accused Tsarukyan of being involved in robbery and corruption, starting and stealing businesses, oppression and looting.
“It’s a pity that the head of the Prosperous Armenia faction considers himself not from the position of overcoming this difficult situation with the Armenian authorities and citizens, but as a part of the political groups that are rejected but are seeking recovery,” Makunts concluded.
MP Sipan Pashinyan, in his Facebook post, also indirectly accused Tsarukyan of making political criminal arrangements, embezzling money and property, disobeying the law, rigging elections, depriving people of their property, and communicating with traitors; meanwhile MP Hrachya Hakobyan reminded of the case of the gang rape, rigged elections and misappropriation of money from the North-South Road Program. MP Ruben Rubinyan also responded to Tsarukyan’s statements, expressing surprise at the “scale of hypocrisy” of the PAP leader.
The Fact Investigation Platform recalled how the relations between “Civil Contract” and “Prosperous Armenia” developed after the revolution, how the ruling party treated Gagik Tsarukyan and what opinions it had previously expressed about Tsarukyan.
Prosperous Armenia during the Revolution
Minutes before Serzh Sargsyan’s resignation on April 23, 2018, the Prosperous Armenia Party and the Tsarukyan Bloc faction of the National Assembly, headed by Gagik Tsarukyan, announced that “they were joining the popular movement in Armenia and among Armenians around the world, calling on the authorities to realize the seriousness of the situation it’s inevitability, and to take immediate steps to resolve the situation.”
After a meeting between Tsarukyan and Nikol Pashinyan at the Marriott Hotel on May 2, 2018, it was announced that the Tsarukyan Bloc would vote for the People’s Candidate Nikol Pashinyan on May 8 (Tsarukyan bloc also voted in favor of Pashinyan to be elected PM on May 1, but the Republican Party did not secure the necessary votes).
Five months after the revolution, on October 8, Nikol Pashinyan posted on his Facebook page that a memorandum had been signed with PAP leader Gagik Tsarukyan on holding early parliamentary elections in Armenia in December 2018. According to the memorandum, in case of resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the “Tsarukyan Bloc” faction, as a supporting force of the revolution, undertakes not to nominate a candidate for Prime Minister and not to support any candidate for Prime Minister.
A few days later, on October 18, after the opening ceremony of the Mining Farm owned by Tsarukyan in the village of Arinj, acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told reporters that there were no oligarchs in Armenia. “Mr. Tsarukyan is a big proprietor in Armenia, it is not a secret for anyone, the rest is no longer a matter of my comment,” Pashinyan stated, emphasizing once again that there are no oligarchs in Armenia.
The elections of the NA Deputy Speaker
After the formation of the National Assembly of the 7th convocation, on January 15, the election of the NA Vice Speakers took place. Vahe Enfiajyan from the Prosperous Armenia Party and Mane Tandilyan from “Bright Armenia” were nominated as candidates for vice-speakers from the opposition factions.
As a result of the secret ballot, Vahe Enfiajyan was elected NA Vice Speaker with 108 votes. In other words, the “My Step” faction almost unanimously (Ed: almost because one deputy from this faction voted for Mane Tandilyan) elected Vahe Enfiajyan.
After the voting, the “My Step” faction justified its vote by the fact that “Prosperous Armenia” had received more votes from the public, and, consequently, the faction could not ignore that fact. NA Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan stated: “My Step faction states that it does not reserve the right to change the proportion approved by the people’s vote. The faction respects the results of that vote and reconciles with the realities, regardless of what other preferences it would have had in other conditions. ”
The appeal of the Citizen’s Decision Party and the response of the Civil Contract
In April 2019, the Citizen’s Decision Party filed an appeal to the NA Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan and the Prosecutor General Arthur Davtyan, inquiring to initiate a criminal prosecution and a process of depriving Gagik Tsarukyan of his parliamentary mandate, taking into account the prohibition of doing business for MPs.
Referring to this topic, the leader of “My Step” faction Lilit Makunts stated: “As the process is currently in the legal sphere, we must wait for the response of the law enforcement bodies.”
A few days later, by the decision of the Special Investigation Committee, the appeal of the Citizen’s Decision over Gagik Tsarukyan being personally engaged in business activities was rejected on the grounds of lack of corpus delicti.
Thus, we can conclude that in the past the ruling party refrained from expressing any negative opinion about Prosperous Armenia or Gagik Tsarukyan, but after the criticism voiced by Tsarukyan on June 5, 2020, the ruling party began accusing him.