One of the new features of The Armenite will be a daily recap of important news in the Armenian Nation. We hope you enjoy it.

May 29, 2018

HHK Shakeup

MP Shirak Torosyan, though not a member of the HHK, was expelled from the faction on Tuesday following his unsanctioned vote in favor of Nikol Pashinyan’s candidacy to become prime minister on May 8, 2018. He will retain his seat in parliament.

MP Artur Gevorgyan, who was a member of the HHK parliamentary faction and the HHK party, has decided to leave both the faction and the party. He will retain his parliamentary seat.

MP Grigor Avalyan has also left the HHK parliamentary faction. He is of Pashinyan’s native Ijevan and a member of the Vardanyan family-owned Grand Candy, which supported Pashinyan’s civil disobedience from its early days. He will leave parliament and be replaced by the HHK.

MP Felix Tsolakyan, another defector from the HHK during the May 1 vote when the party had decided to completely vote against Pashinyan, is also expected to officially leave the parliamentary faction while maintaining his seat. He is not a HHK member.

With the three defections, the HHK parliamentary majority is now down to 55 members out of the 105 member chamber.

Russian-Georgian Trade Route Makes Progress

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister has met the Georgian PM’s Special Representative to Russia. An agreement to open roads in Abkhazia and South Ossetia was recently signed by Russia and the two countries confirmed their commitment to the agreement.

If realized, the 2011 agreement would have SGS, a Swiss company, monitor and facilitate trade between the two countries on those roads, which have been closed since the collapse of the Soviet Union due to two Georgian wars with the breakaway territories. With the roads closed, trade between Georgia and Russia has been limited to the much less favorable and often-closed Georgian Military Road.

The agreement is of particular interest to Armenia, which has by far the most to gain from its implementation. Despite Russia being Armenia’s most significant trade and security partner, Armenia has not had consistent ground transportation access to Russia since the Soviet collapse. The opening of the roads is expected to have a significant impact on the Armenian economy. Moreover, it may serve as the precursor to the opening of the all-important Abkhazia Railway connecting Yerevan to Moscow.

Nikol Pashinyan Regrets Ara Babloyan’s Exclusion From May 28 Celebrations

Ara Babloyan, Speaker of the National Assembly, was not officially invited to the centennial celebration of the First Republic, in violation of long-established and practiced protocol. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated, “I think a misunderstanding occurred in this period of transition which is a sad oversight.”

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