About principles

One of the deputies from this current parliament, Arman Babajanyan, who was elected as a member of the Bright Armenia faction, left the faction some time after getting elected and decided to become an independent deputy. Sergey Bagratyan from Prosperous Armenia also did that last year. Neither case caused confusion or especially revolt among the majority of My Step members. What happened to modesty? Did they forget whom to thank for getting elected on a certain political party’s ticket? If they were so principled, they should have resigned. Both of these cases were most likely regarded as natural parts of the political process. My Step’s anger and frustration only arose when people started leaving their party.

If the law does not prevent people from leaving their parties and becoming independent deputies, then it must be predictable in parliamentary practices. From a political perspective, however, there is a difference between who leaves, when, and from where. It’s one thing when a deputy realizes where the power lays and is running away to side with the stronger ones and those in power, but it’s another thing entirely when a deputy breaks their ties with government structures while understanding the consequences. (I should mention that the second case is not heroism since we are living in an authoritarian state, but not a dictatorship. In any case, that is a step that requires some bravery).

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In the fall of 1997, opportunistic deputies saw that true power lay in Vazgen Sargsyan’s hands, so they left Levon Ter-Petrossian’s Republic group and joined the Yerkrapah group, or they became independent deputies. In 2006 when Orinats Yerkir began to display opposition motives, deputies such as Melik Manukyan left Orinats Yerkir and established the Businessowners group. Kocharyan held power at the time, and remaining in a semi-opposition party threatened their businesses.

Leaving the ruling party today has an entirely different meaning. Power (power structures, prosecutors, investigative bodies) lies in Nikol Pashinyan’s hands, and even if snap elections were to take place (without changing the Prime Minister), then he would reproduce in the same manner as his predecessors. Just from a political conjuncture perspective, it is more beneficial to remain in the My Step faction and to carry out everything the Prime Minister wants, such as removing Naira Zohrabyan from her position as the chairwoman of the Human Rights Committee. Leaving that political party in particular means to be bullied by former political party members and Pashinyan’s voters.

In 1989-1990, the aggressive-obedient term was used against Soviet deputies who represented the “swamp.” I think that is also true for the contemporary parliament in the Third Republic.

Aram Abrahamyan

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