Armenian parliament is the highest legislative branch of the government of Armenia. The history and formation of this body comes from ancient times.
National Assembly of Republic of Armenia, or as we call most frequently, the Armenian Parliament is called “Azgajin Zhoghov” in Armenian.
You’ll know more details of the highest legislative branch of Armenia in this article, including its formation history, legislation, members and elections.
There is more to know. In December 2015, after the national referendum, Armenia changed its constitution and became a parliamentary republic, instead of former semi-presidential. But you probably wonder when exactly the new constitution starts to work?
These changes bring tones of question concerning the role of the head of the state, MPs, etc. So, let’s answer them all!
Some Must-Know Facts about Armenian Parliament
- Armenian Parliament was known as Supreme Council of Armenia until 1995, as Armenia was a part of the Soviet Union.
- Nowadays Armenian Parliament is a unicameral body, which consists of 131 members.
- The members of Armenian Parliament are comprised by elections, which are held every 5 years.
- The current speaker of Armenian Parliament is Galust Sahakyan.
- As a whole, according to the latest changes in constitution, Armenian Parliament must consist of at least 101 seats. In some rare extreme cases, there might be 200 seats.
- Those parties who want to be included in the mandate distribution must pass the threshold of 5 % and coalitions 7% in order to be included in mandate distribution.
- The election system reserves 50% of votes.
- By the way, the representatives of the same sex must not be more than the 70 % of all members.
- Another 50% of votes received by each party is distributed among their territorial lists, which is submitted in 13 electoral districts.
- However, the process of elections sometimes gets complicated. If none of the parties wins the 50% of votes, there must be the 2 round of elections carried out.
- Already in the 2nd round of elections, the party which wins and gains the majority of votes, receives access to Armenian Parliament.
Ruling Parties in the Armenian Parliament and Committees
Though there are quite a lot of parties in Armenia, only few of them are represented in National Assembly of Armenia. This is because, either they are not active, or they are not able to gain vote during the elections.
There are number of committees in Armenian Parliament, which are specialized in some definite issues. Besides the main committees there are also temporary committees, which are called Ad-hoc committees. These committees are created to discuss issues which are not covered by the existing committees.
Armenia is on its Way to Becoming Parliamentary Republic
According to the constitutional referendum in 2015, Armenia is planned to become a parliamentary republic.
Before the election, Armenia is considered to be a semi-presidential republic yet. According to these changes, the head and the main power of the governing of the country is passed to the parliament of the country.
Consequently, the party members which gain the most of the votes have special advantage of majority in the Armenian parliament.
As the process of passing the law and gaining special decisions from now on will be held by the elections, those parties which are majority in the parliament, can easily pass their will with the help of votes.
The members can introduce themselves either as parties or coalitions. Several parties may gather under the same idea and form coalition. In this case, gaining votes will be much easier.
The upcoming parliamentary will include 101 seats. The special privileges gained during the elections will give the parties and members of coalitions introduce their benefits in Armenian Parliament and foster their further progress in fulfilling them.
The latest referendum of December 2015 reduces the seats of Armenian parliament from 131 to 101, all of which will be elected by proportional representation.
The change from the presidential republic to parliamentary was not accepted by Armenians unanimously. The changes raised two different opinions in the society. Some were for the changes and others preferred to remain in semi-presidential republic. Even though, the referendum proved that still the majority of population was for passing into the parliamentary republic system.
Armenian Parliament and Foreign Relations
Armenian Parliament is actively in collaboration with number of international committees and organizations, such as:
- EU-Armenia Parliamentary committee
- Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy
- Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation
- Parliamentary Assembly of NATO, etc.
Besides international organizations, Armenian parliament is also engaged in friendship groups with different countries. This kind of collaboration is a way of active interaction between two or more countries.
Today’s speaker of Armenian Parliament is Galust Sahakyan, who succeeded Hovik Abrahamyan in 2014.
The Most Horrific and also Funniest Events in Armenian Parliament
Though Armenian Parliament is the highest legislative body and consequently the questions discussed there are the questions of extreme importance, sometimes there are cases which happened unexpectedly including both fun and horrific ones.
The fun incidents may include minor arguments between two political parties, which is flavored with humorous interruptions of speaker of Armenian Parliament Galust Sahakyan.
However, one of the most memorable of terrifying event happened in modern Armenian history was the Armenian Parliament shooting.
Here you can watch the footage of the shootings.
It was a terrorist attack on the National Assembly of Armenia on October 27, 1999 by a group of 5 armed men. During the terrorist attack, the major political powers of Armenia and other members of Parliament were killed, such as Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan, Speaker of the Parliament Karen Demirchyan. Number of other members of Parliament who became the innocent victims of this dreadful attack.
The terrorist attack of 27 October remains one of the most controversial conspiracy theories till our day. The riddle of those events still remains unsolved. Who were the real initiators of Armenian Parliament shooting? This question is the top mystery of modern Armenian history.
In 2010 Armenian Parliament was reconstructed and officially opened already on October 22. The opening ceremony took place with participation of president of Armenia Serzh Sarkisyan, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, the speaker of Armenian Parliament Hovik Abrahamyan and other members.
The sitting hall of constructed in oval structure, which reminds round table debates.
Those Who Want to Visit the Most Powerful Institution in Armenia!
The National Assembly of Armenia is situated on Baghramyan street. Baghramyan street is known as the “Diplomatic street” of Yerevan. Wonder why?
Just because most of foreign embassies are situated here. But that’s not all. The official residence of the president of Republic of Armenia, National Assembly and many other international organizations are here too.
The official address of National Assembly of Armenia is 19 Baghramyan street, Yerevan, Armenia. It’s about 5-10-minute walk from the Opera house. So, during your walk in the center of Yerevan, don’t miss the chance to take a look at the Armenian parliament!
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