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Political drama in Armenia - Parliament agrees to lift Tsarukyan's immunity (updated 2)
16 June 2020

Update 2 at 1430 CEST (1630 Yerevan Time)

In a secret vote the Armenian parliament has agreed to lift the immunity of opposition leader Gagik Tsarukyan. 87 MPs voted in favour with none against. The two opposition parties abstained. The vote opens the way for Tsarukyan's arrest on several charges, including vote buying, and bribery.

The vote came after a day of political drama that saw MPs, including Tsarukyan himself, making emotional speeches as they debated a motion from the Prosecuter General of Armenia asking for the immunity to be lifted.

Dozens of Tsarukyan supporters were arrested as they protested outside the National Assembly building. Tsarukyan himself left Parliament to go to the National Security Service offices where he was summoned for further investigation.

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 Updated at 1030 CEST (1230 Yerevan Time)

Armenia opposition leader Gagik Tsaruykyan made a passionate appeal to parliament ahead of a vote that is likely to see him being stripped of his parliamentary immunity. Tsarukian said that the government moved against him after the political council of his party agreed to take action to protest against the failure of the government in many sectors including in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier The Prosecutor General, Arthur Davtyan, addressed parliament with a request to lift the parliamentary immunity of Tsarukyan enabling the authorities to initiate criminal proceedings and deprive him of liberty.

Charges against Tsarukyan who is a multi millionaire and one of Armenia's most colourful politicians, include bribery, vote buying and abuse of power.

Police confirmed that more than a hundred people have been arrested this morning as supporters of Tsarukyan gathered outside the Armenian parliament.

A vote on lifting Tsarukyan's parliamentary immunity is expected shortly.

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There was political drama in Armenia's capital Yerevan this morning (16 June), as the government took further steps against the leader of the main opposition party - Prosperous Armenia Party - Gagik Tsarukyan.

The Prosecutor General, Arthur Davtyan, addressed parliament with a request to lift the parliamentary immunity of Tsarukyan enabling the authorities to initiate criminal proceedings and deprive him of liberty.
Charges against Tsarukyan who is a multi millionaire and one of Armenia's most colourful politicians, include bribery, vote buying and abuse of power.

Some supporters of Tsarukyan congregated around the parliament building as the discussion on the motion was taking place. There was a heavy police presence.

In the meantime, on facebook Armenia's prime minister Nikol Pashinyan wrote, "Freedom, democracy and the rule of law have no alternative in Armenia. Everyone is equal before the law,"

source: commonspace.eu with agencies

photo:  Gagik Tsarukyan speaking in the Armenian parliament on 16 June 2020 (Screen grab from Armenpress live feed of Parliament)

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