First Session of the National Assembly of the RA Fifth Convocation Begins


On May 31 under the sounds of Armenia’s anthem the first session of the National Assembly of the RA fifth convocation began.

In accordance with the RA NA Rules of Procedure, before the election of the newly elected National Assembly Speaker the elder deputy Mkrtich Minasyan conducted the sittings.

On the occasion of the fifth convocation of the RA National Assembly the President Serzh Sargsyan delivered his welcoming speech:

Dear Colleagues,

I congratulate you on the occasion of the first session of the Fifth Convocation of the RA National Assembly. I thank all delegates of the previous parliament for their work. From the viewpoint of lawmaking, last five years have been really prolific, and I believe they have laid a good basis for the next five years. Many of you have already become professional lawmakers and will naturally ensure smooth advancement of the National Assembly activities. I also salute all those who have been elected members of the parliament for the first time and wish them productive work.

For me, and I believe for many present here, impressions of the pre-electoral meetings are still vivid. We all have had active discussions all over the country with our citizens; we listened to attentively and meticulously took note of daily concerns and problems of our people. These people have elected us because they believed in us, because they had faith in us. I want us to work in such a way that no one regrets for their choices and in such a way that we justify their hopes. We can do a lot; you can do a lot. You are the legislative authorities of the Republic of Armenia.

Every deputy present is supported by thousands of votes, i.e. thousands of people. You are the ones to make their voices perceptible, and the place to do it is the National Assembly, adopted decisions and the laws. This is an honorary and responsible mission.
Dear Colleagues,

I trust we have a vibrant parliament, where the most influential players of the political field are represented. I am glad that all political forces represented in the previous legislature have been reelected to the RA National Assembly; I also congratulate the advent of the Armenian National Congress to the Armenian Parliament.
I believe that any serious idea or concept, which will appear in any segment of our society, will find its way to the podium of the National Assembly, provided there is a will and expediency. I am also confident that our delegates will not limit themselves to office work exclusively and the society-parliament link will be put on a truly practical basis. Present here are the political forces and political figures who have been maintaining different political views and have dissimilar approaches on different issues. Yes, there will be debates, sometimes heated, there also will be agreements on different issues or each will stick to his or her opinion, there will be mutual understanding, sometimes – not. Important are the objectives for which we are entering political debates. Important are the tools which we choose on the road toward achieving these objectives. Mastery of different, including parliamentary, power leverages, is a means for all of us to achieve key objectives such as Armenia’s empowerment, steep rise in the living standards for our people, curbing of emigration, enhancement of the defensibleness, and other objectives. When means becomes an end in itself, or even worse, when the ends become the means, the entire logic of the political debate is distorted, and it becomes senseless.
The goal can never justify the means. Even the best of results achieved through the corrupt means will eventually come to naught. Unfortunately, we have much to learn from our own mistakes, and I am hopeful that in the future there will be fewer mistakes. I believe that all of us, in this case, deputes present in this hall, have a mission of establishing new traditions of political struggle and activities, which in the coming years and decades will prevent or minimize any possibility of shocks in our country.
I express gratitude to all political forces and to our nation for jointly conducting rather mature elections. Each election in Armenia should be considerably better than the previous one. We succeeded in conducting such elections and we will also succeed in raising considerably the efficiency and target of our works.

Personally I have every intention to work and to work with everyone in the atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation. I hope we will be working with the renewed vigor, always keeping in mind what we have been elected for, what we have promised to our constituencies, which have endowed us with the power which we are representing here today.
In conclusion, I would like to once again suggest to always remember that no one will respect our rules but we, or boundaries of mutual respect – we have to do it ourselves. Nobody may judge us; we are our own judges, defenders of our borders and ever alert guardians of mutual trust, we and nobody else.

I wish us all great success and good works to the Fifth Convocation of the RA National Assembly.”

On the occasion of the opening of the first session His Holiness, Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch Catholicos of All Armenians gave a blessing word:

“Dear President of the Republic of Armenia,

Honourable deputies and those present,

I welcome and congratulate you on the occasion of the convocation of first session of the newly elected parliament.

We have come from the Holy See Echmiadzin to bring our Patriarchal blessing, dear deputies, when today you before God and people you are assuming your obligations and as the representatives and those expressing the will of the people, are beginning responsible, your patriotic mission. You have come to the parliament with legislative programmes of your parties, perspectives of Armenia’s progress, getting served our efforts with commitment and will to the people.

The legislative activity of the parliament is a basis and guideline, condition and guarntee for the development of the country. Our country has passed a significant path of legislative amendments during the previous two decades, establishing the bases of free and sovereign statehood and democratic society. Those achievements strengthen the just hopes of our people to build a prosperous Motherland. The continuous procedure of the improvements is necessary and important, which during the coming years should be implemented with hard activity and with your devoted service. The responsibility is burdened on your shoulders to regulate and direct the procedures of state and public life of Armenia, to ensure the stability and harmonious development of our country with regulation of law, the ways of overcoming the difficulties and problems of our life. In this important mission confided in you have the faith, moral values and principles guiding you. The laws elaborated andthe decisions made, expressing love and care towards our country and people with their proposed demands and results will become a stable road of justice and right, will bring blessing, good and power to our life. In the Motherland and Diaspora our people work with devotion to build welfare and developing life of our country, to see embodied the centuries long of our fathers of powerful and prosperous Armenia under the auspice of Ararat, which is today our vision, our duty, and will become reality with everybody’s activity. Always remembering about the confidence given to you by our people, which is sacred, contribute with effort and work to the strengthening of our Motherland and embodiment of our people’s desirable wishes. This is our patriarchal commandment to you, dear deputies.

We wish you to have the faith to God, love towards our Motherland and people, and the optimism towards the bright future of the world spread nation always alert in your soul. Our prayer is that the Lord will keep you healthy, guide to wisdom and truth with His Holy Soul and fully fill your activity for the praise of God and for the brightness of our Motherland.”

At the end of his Holiness’ word, after united Lord’s Prayer, the Supreme Patriarch blessed the deputies of the National Assembly of the fifth convocation with prayer.

After welcoming speeches the deputies swore in:

“For the sake of realization of national aims and strengthening and prosperity of the motherland – I swear to faithfully perform my obligations assumed before the nation, to preserve the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Armenia, to contribute to the independence and protection of interests of the Republic of Armenia, to do everything for civil solidarity and protection of national and human values.”

After the deputies’ oath the one presiding the sitting presented the deputies, reading everybody’s name-surname, the number of the constituency or the name of the party, the party ally.

Then the one presiding announced the agenda of the first session:

1. Election of the Accounting Committee

2. Election of the National Assembly President

3. Elections of the National Assembly Vice Presidents

4. Approval of the number, names and spheres of the activity of the National

Assembly Standing Committees

5. Elections of the Chairmen of the Standing Committees

6. Issue of approving the Government programme.

In connection with the agenda first issue the NA deputy Galust Sahakyan proposed to elect 7 deputies in the Ad-hoc Accounting Committee, 2 of them from the RPA, and 1 candidate from other political forces, which was accepted with voting. Rafik Grigoryan and Tachat Vardapetyan were nominated from the RPA, Vahagn Makhsudyan from the PAP, Artsvik Minasyan from the ARF, Ishkhan Khachatryan from the Rule of Law Party, and the seats of the candidates from the Heritage and the Armenian National Congress remained vacant due to the absence of the political forces.

At the sitting of the Ad-hoc Accounting Committee Rafik Grigoryan was elected Chairman of the Committee.

In accordance with the NA Rules of Procedure, the election of the National Assembly President began with the candidate’s nomination. The NA deputy Galust Sahakyan proposed Hovik Abrahamyan’s candidacy for the NA President’s post.

On the occasion of being nominated in the NA President’s post Hovik Abrahamyan delivered his speech, which we are presenting below:

Dear colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am thankful for being nominated again for the higher post of the President of the National Assembly. First of all, I am grateful to the President of the Republic for such trust, I address my word of gratitude to my dear party, and all my colleagues.

The parliament of the 5th convocation of the Republic of Armenia, this parliament is the representation body in the most direct sense of the word: today almost all political fields of Armenia in its widest palette are represented in the National Assembly. I am glad that we succeeded to shape a strong legislative body through good elections. I am sure that the current National Assembly will raise the traditions of parliamentarism in our country to a new level and will become a real symbol of maturity of political environment.

To say that I consider the nomination for the post of the Head of Parliament as a big pride and serious responsibility means very little. I see quite well what responsibility is reserved to the President of the National Assembly and I am definitely ready for that.

During the election campaign I have attentively followed the goals being voiced out loud by all political forces and I have studied all the programmes. I have seen a huge commonness between the sounded word and declared concerns:

- everybody was bringing forth the necessity of believing in own forces,

- everybody was insisting on the need of continuing the changes,

- everybody was saying that it is necessary to continue the struggle against the harmful phenomena of our life,

- everybody speaks about a man as the most essential and fundamental value of our country.

That is very good.

It means that our society has been established as a subject forming as a collective demand.

It means that this establishment is already irreversible.

It means that all forces of our country with reluctance have come to an agreement over the common value system.

Finally, it means that all of us criticizing each other, in reality are very close to each other with respect to the visions of our country’s future and are ready to lead the development of our country in the right direction.

I believe that all of us are the patriotic citizens of our country. And in the election campaign built with this logic has won not one political force, but also the whole Armenia and our people.

I am convinced that this will make stronger our country. I am sure that we’ll be convinced very quickly in that already during the first few months of the National Assembly’s activity.

Time has come to work.

And all of us should work, because the problems, being faced before our country can be only solved in cooperation, and the welfare of every citizen of Armenia can only be voiced together.

Dear colleagues,

My programme approaches on the activity of the National Assembly have not been changed. Instead, during the last years, succeeding to possess the most noticeable sides of the activity, invisible delicate points of the parliament, today I am more than sure in my approaches on the strong and effective parliament.

1. Today I repeat that the provision of the atmosphere of mutual respect, tolerance and partnership is primary importance for normal and effective activity of the parliament. In this respect it is not by accident that obtaining political majority in the National Assembly, the Republican Party, as before, today acts as a convinced supporter of public solidarity and multilateral cooperation.

We are going to work together for five years. We’re going to learn a lot about each other, numerous false myths will be dispersed, many occasions will to bring to the inner conviction in the falseness of former pictures and will again remember that it’s not compulsory that our fears be the other’s thoughts. This parliament will be a good parliament and will not have a problem of prestige. Anyway, I won’t spare energy for that.

I’ll also do my best so that any dispute or disagreement won’t ever reflect on the normal activity and working atmosphere of the parliament.

2. The National Assembly has the primary tribune of the political life. This is the higher platform of the political dispute. In this hall all main developments of the political thought will begin and end in our country, and here will be crossed the approaches and differing views on the path of Armenia’s development. I won’t spare energy on the path of establishing National Assembly with open, active and weighty role. We’ll establish together.

We’ll lay the law-making work on the professional bases. Undoubtedly, there will always be populist rhetoric, there will be attempts of serving the imaginable for real, and it’s natural. But it will be the exception, not the regularity, and the regularity is serious, comprehensively considered, the everyday consistent law-making work will be, for which first of all we have gathered here.

3. I see the National Assembly-Government relationship on the plane of dynamic development. Yes, the Government shapes the ruling political force and me, as a representative of that political force, have the inner-party plane having the influence on the Government’s activity. At the same time I am convinced that irrespective of existing other mechanisms, the National Assembly should and could observe in more inclusive way the political different aspects being implemented and give new nuances. Don’t doubt that as Speaker of the parliament I won’t hesitate to be the critic of the government in all issues, which, in my opinion, are solved with insufficient effectiveness or speed. At the same time in case of crowd pleasing or self-aimed criticism I’ll be the first defender of the Government, as I don’t have self-aimed departmental or party interests, there is only the interest of Armenia or our people, and I only deem justified the activity being implemented for that sake.

4. And finally, in conditions of current realities we should pay serious attention to the development of parliamentary diplomacy. Some of our neighbours develop anti-Armenian activity in almost all political platforms of the world. We are obliged to more effectively use all our opportunities and mechanisms for such resources. In this issue the parliament also has a big role, and all of us should be more active in most different dimensions in being consistent to the interests of our country.

These were my main approaches over the key directions of the National Assembly’s activity. They have been changed during the last years, only my convictions about the parliament, cooperation environment and the positive potential of the concerted work have been changed. They have become firmer. And I am ready with my convictions to infect on everybody.

I once again thank you for nominating me in the higher post of the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia and for supporting me.

Thank you.

Then exchange of thoughts was held. Galust Sahakyan and Eduard Sharmazanov said that on the previous day the sittings of the RPA executive body and board had been convened, and a unanimous proposal had been to defend Hovik Abrahamyan’s candidacy. They highly appreciated the candidate’s human and professional virtues, noting that Hovik Abrahamyan with his work done in the NA President’s post had already proved that he was a politician with experience.

To Khosrov Harutyunyan’s assessment, during the NA President’s tenure in the previous convocation Hovik Abrahamyan has displayed himself with best features, has risen the political prestige and weight of the parliament, keeping the principle of the authorities’ separation.

In his speech the ARF member Armen Rustamyan urged the NA President’s candidate Hovik Abrahamyan in case of being elected to provide the normal activity of the National Assembly and not allow making violations of the Rules of Procedure.

In accordance with the NA Rules of Procedure, the NA President’s election in secret ballot.

After the election Rafik Grgoryan, Chairman of the Ad-hoc Accounting Committee issued the results of the election, according to which, 110 deputies took part in the National Assembly President’s election, 4 ballots were recognized invalid, and with correlation of 102 for and 4 of them against Hovik Abrahamyan had been elected President of the National Assembly.

Then the National Assembly turned to the elections of the Vice Presidents of the parliament.

The newly elected President of the National Assembly Hovik Abrahamyan thanked his colleagues, the Republican Party and the RPA leader, RA President Serzh Sargsyan for trust. Hovik Abrahamyan expressed conviction that they would implement with joint efforts all mentioned programmes. The NA President is sure that therei spotential for implementing those programmes, and convinced that they will justify the people’s trust. “I thank all citizens, due to whose support today I am in the National Assembly,” Hovik Abrahamyan noted.

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