Parliamentmonitoring.am has published a report on the activities of members of the National Assembly of the 7th convocation – voting, absenteeism, questions and speeches.
Statistics published by the website have been summarized by Tert.am, which has been copied by News.am website. The publication referring to the “silent” deputies of the National Assembly of the 7th convocation states that 11 MPs from “My Step”, 7 from Prosperous Armenia, and 1 from Bright Armenia did not ask questions and did not deliver speeches during the year.
The Fact Investigation Platform tried to check whether this information is true, especially given that the list contains “silent” deputies who made memorable speeches in the 7th convocation National Assembly.
Some of the “silent” deputies did make speeches and questions
According to Parliamentmonitoring.am website analysis and Tert.am summary, 11 out of 88 MPs from “My Step” faction did not deliver speeches or ask questions, including Vardan Atabekyan, Matevos Asatryan, Gor Gevorgyan, Sedrak Tevonyan, Yerjanik Hakobyan. Vahe Ghalumyan, Arsen Mikhailov, Artashes Petrosyan, Karen Sarukhanyan, Hakob Simidyan (Faction Secretary) and Andranik Kocharyan.
At least 6 MPs from the list have made speeches and asked questions to both the authors of draft laws and the government. They have been identified and disseminated by the media. There may have been speeches and questions that were raised during the sessions but were not covered.
For instance, Gor Gevorgyan, a member of the “My Step” faction, can even be counted among the active deputies who have stood out by making a number of speeches. At least one speech that had Grabar quotations was widely circulated, after which the deputy had to clarify what the speech was about in a separate conversation with reporters.
Gor Gevorgyan, a member of My Step faction, also delivered a speech during the discussion on the Draft Law on Lotteries, the implementation of the government program, the discussion of the draft state budget for 2020, as well as on January 17 during the speeches of the NA deputies and so on.
Andranik Kocharyan, a member of the “My Step” faction, also appeared on the list of silent MPs, but he has not only delivered speeches as candidate for chairman of the NA Standing Committee on Defense but also made a speech, for example, during the discussion of the draft law “Making additions to the RA Criminal Code”, as well as during the discussion of the draft law referring to the criminal subculture.
Though Karen Sarukhanyan, MP from My Step Faction has not been active in the legislative discussions, he has asked a number of questions to the government, one of which referred to the closure of a childcare center, another to the disadvantaged wood-made apartments of the Ashotsk community.
Artashes Petrosyan, a member of My Step faction, was not active either, but he asked questions to the Minister of Economic Development and Investment Tigran Khachatryan and Chairman of the NA Standing Committee on Economic Affairs Babken Tunyan during discussions of draft laws.
Matevos Asatryan, a member of the “My Step” faction, asked a question during the Q&A session with the government, which the media described as ridiculous.
According to the analysis, 7 out of 26 deputies from the Prosperous Armenia faction did not deliver speeches or ask questions, including Arayik Aghababyan, Eduard Babayan, Kajik Gevorgyan, Janibek Hayrapetyan, David Manukyan, Soghomon Soghomonyan and Tigran Stepanyan.
Some of these deputies have never really participated in parliamentary discussions, but for example, Arayik Aghababyan has asked the government questions, and Janibek Hayrapetyan has made at least one speech on the traffic jams in Yerevan.
According to the analysis, out of the 18 deputies of the Bright Armenia faction, Rubik Stepanyan did not speak and ask any questions. However, he did address a question to the government.
Parliamentmonitoring.am website clarifies and points out the error of the websites that cited their analysis
Speaking to Fip.am, Parliamentmonitoring Program Director Lusine Vasilyan clarified that the statistics of questions and speeches are only taken from discussions of the laws. “The program has been around for 7-8 years and has always used this method. It was made specifically so that we could really measure their legislative activity, that is, we do not take questions asked to the government. The first impression may be that the deputies have made more speeches than our statistics, but our statistics shows this part only” she said.
In addition, Lusine Vasilyan noted that many people think that if the MP was a related speaker, it would be a speech. “It is his duty, not an indicator of his personal activity. We really thought about getting the cleanest part, because questions and speeches are the relatively most purposeless part of parliamentary activity” he said.
According to Lusine Vasilyan, the statistics themselves are large and complex and one cannot exclude that there will be some mistakes.
According to her, when using the statistics, the websites did not mention what legislative activity was taken into account, and did not mention that the data was as of November 10.
Thus, we can state that the overview prepared by Tert.am and News.am based on the research presented on Parliamentmonitoring.am is incorrect, since it did not indicate that the statistics relate only to MPs’ speeches during legislative debates. Parliamentmonitoring.am has also made mistakes, as some statistics do not take into account the activity of some MPs.