Distinguished President of the Republic of Armenia,
Distinguished Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia,
Distinguished President of Artsakh Republic,
Distinguished Speaker of the National Assembly of Artsakh Republic,
Dear deputies of the current parliament of Armenia and different years,
Dear guests and attendees,
This year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the restoration of the Armenian independent statehood, the formation of the parliament of the First Republic of Armenia and the establishment of the system of the parliamentary government in Armenia. In the sphere of the expression of the people’s free will and the development of the state government system a century is changed for us. We chose the path of the parliamentary government immediately after the May victories during the hard and chaotic period. The Armenians, showing legal unique high conscience, made one of the pivotal decisions of its political history.
The Council of Armenia was formed on the basis of the existing national-political realities, which convened its first sitting on 1 August 1918. Being formed from the representatives of the main political forces and nationalities, it became the first Armenian P arliament. During at least one year of activities in the hardest months of famine and epidemics it passed more than hundred laws ad legislative acts. Acting in the conditions of not still being formed of the power bodies often also did the work of the executive power through its Committees. The Council of Armenia had a unique role in the elaboration of the national legislation, the formation of the judicial system, in the organization of the state and public life of Armenia, as well as elaborated a full democratic electoral law and in summer of 1919 organized the elections of the new parliament.
Due to historical and political conditions the first period of the establishment of parliamentarism in Armenia was painfully a short period. Nevertheless, more than three hundred laws and legal documents were adopted, hundreds of orders and decisions were made. Parliamentary democracy traditions were created, and political government culture was formed.
The second period of the parliamentary government was also hard, when the Supreme Council of the Soviet Armenia was functioning in the conditions of the one-party system of state government. However, a huge work was done in creation of the legislation corresponding with the Soviet legal system, but correctly reflecting the conditions of Armenia and in the settlement of the legal relations.. Being genuinely representation bodies, where all layers of the society were involved: the Congress of Armenia’s Councils and then the Supreme Council had a huge role through seven decades in passing the legislation for the development of Armenia’s economy, education, science and culture.
Regardless of times the Parliament of Armenia always was the one expressing the Armenian people’s interests and aspirations. It was distinctly revealed especially during Karabakh movement, when the Supreme Council of the 11th convocation entered into evident conflict with the Soviet authorities. The Supreme Council made well-known decisions of 15 July 1988 and 1 December 1989, by which Armenia gave legal substantiation to Artsakh Armenians’ struggle. It was the same Supreme Council that laid the first cornerstone at the incomplete sitting of 24 November 1988, announcing that from that time on the laws that enjoyed only the approval of the Armenian SSR Supreme Council in Armenia. And next year the Supreme Council recognized 28 May 1918 restoration day of the Armenian statehood. All this witnessed the fact that Armenia enters into the third phase of the representation democracy development.
The whole weight of the first steps of the restoration of the Armenian statehood and democratization of the country in the hardest years of Artsakh freedom fighting, the creation of the new model of economic relations and the first steps of building a completely new legal system laid on the Supreme Council formed for the first time through democratic elections in 1990. That parliament adopted the Declaration of Armenia’s Independence, organized the 21 September 1991 Referendum, and Armenia declared independent state, undertook the elaboration of Armenia’s national legislation and the signing of the first inter-state treaties. The third period of development of parliamentarism in Armenia began.
Unfortunately, the parliament had also losses: in Artsakh freedom fighting fell victims Vigen Shirinyan and Samvel Shahmuradyan. And the Speaker of the Parliament Karen Demirchyan, Deputy Speakers Yuri Bakhshyan and Ruben Miroyan, MPs Mikayel Kotanyan, Henrik Abrahamyan and Armenak Armenakyan, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Vazgen Sargsyan and the Minister Leonard Petrosyan died during the 27 October 1999 terrorist attack.
Let us respect our friends’ bright memory in one-minute silence.
In 1990 the third phase of the development of the system of the parliamentary government began in Armenia which continues until now. From those days the history of the Armenian Parliament became a history of the declaration, establishment and development of the Third Republic. Today, the Parliament of Armenia leads us through building self-sovereign, democratic, social and legal state.
The past centenary proved that the representation democracy expressed the Armenian people’s free will, the individual’s rights, national and state interests, i.e. it fully corresponds with our national psychology and way of thinking.
We, as a society, really can delegate and demand results. We really can dispute and find solutions, work out laws directing the public life and call them into life.
In April-May 2018 the Armenian people and the authorities of Armenia once again showed to the world unique examples of tolerance and not taking the country to irrelevant shocks. As a result of peaceful demonstrations, the Prime Minister of the country resigned, the parliament chose a new Prime Minister, approved the programme of the government and the life returned to its normal path. But in the last weeks the inner-political life of Armenia again is tense, and unfortunately, every shock follows the other one, polarizing the society.
We simply have no right to draw divisive lines between us.
The main lesson of the hundred-year period of the Armenian parliamentarism is the unity, always looking forward and comparing the forces in all turns of life. I am convinced that the best place for discussing all thoughts and ideas is the political platform of our country – the Parliament of the Republic of Armenia. Hence, we should gather here, weigh everything and solve the issues through consensus as it is accepted in the civilized world.
I once again congratulate all of us on one-century jubilee of the establishment of the Armenian Parliament.
I wish that we will reach new successes and achievements on the further strengthening of parliamentary democracy in Armenia and in Artsakh.