Oligarch MP Samvel Aleksanyan abandons ship
The Republican Party (RPA), Armenia’s long-ruling political faction, has lost its parliamentary majority and with it, its sole power to ratify or reject draft laws. This news came as the well-known Armenian oligarch and MP Samvel Aleksanyan announced his departure from the party today.
Aleksanyan is the sixth lawmaker to leave the ranks of the RPA over the past month. The faction now holds 52 mandates out of 105.
Samvel Aleksanyan declined to comment on his decision. Instead, the Deputy Chairman of the Republican Party Armen Ashotyan expressed the opinion that MPs will continue to leave the faction as the result of political persecution by the new government that recently carried out the “Velvet Revolution” in April-May and succeeded the RPA in the government.
“Today, there are attempts to mask political persecution by justice. However, I want to emphasize that there is a tendency for selective justice. And the application of this principle does not contribute to the realisation of the goals that were voiced during the revolution.”
Representatives of big business, members of the Republican Party of many years, began to leave its ranks after their companies underwent inspections by the National Security Service. In particular, the agency found tax fraud worth 16 billion drams (8 million US dollars) in its audit of the Yerevan City supermarket network, owned by Samvel Aleksanyan.