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Enlargement elections to be held in Lori and Tavush regions of RA on June 14th

At today’s RA Government session, the Government approved the draft law on Making Amendments and Addenda to the RA Law “On RA Administrative Territorial Division” and “RA Law on Local Self-Government”. The adoption of the bills will provide the legal basis for the process of community unification in Lori and Tavush regions on June 14th.


In particular, the RA Law on Making Amendments and Addenda to the RA Law on Administrative-Territorial Division provides for 2 community unification programs in Lermontovo, Lori Marz, Ijevan Community, Tavush. As a result of the amendments to the RA Law on Local Self-Government, it is envisaged that on June 14th, 2020 elections for community leaders and council members will be implemented in these communities.


According to the justification, since February 14th, 2016, 52 community unification programs have been implemented, resulting in the unification of 465 communities to form 52 communities. The bill envisages the formation of the following community bundles: Lermontovo – Lermontovo, Antarashen (2), Ijevan, Tavush Marz –  Ijevan, Azatamut, Aknaghbyur, Acharkut, Aygehovit, Achajur, Berkaber, Gandzakar, Getahovit, Ditavan, Yenokavan, Lusahovit, Lusadzor, Khashtarak, Tsaghkavan (Ijevan reg.),  Kirants, Sarigyugh, Sevkar, Vazashen (19). The proposed projects will involve 21 communities, resulting in the merger of 2 communities. The process of community unification in Tavush region will be over.


As the Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Suren Papikyan noted, the monitoring revealed that the larger communities are several times more effective if the right management and correct administrative-territorial reform are implemented. “The funds within their jurisdiction are used much more effectively and naturally benefit the community and the community residents.”


Suren Papikyan also presented the process that occurs when the community does not want to unite. “An initiative group is being formed, which carries out a signature collection. In case of having 20% ​​signatures of the community voters, they apply to the municipality. If the municipality is able to finance the referendum, it shall apply to the relevant authorities and a referendum shall be held. If more than 50 percent of the electorate votes in favor of the referendum as a result of the referendum, then the position of the given community becomes obvious to us. This is the opportunity we have created that is in line with the political statements we have talked about many times. At the same time, I urge the public to treat this process as a RA citizen responsible for his community, not to be guided by narrow, personal, kin, clan interests, but to be guided by the interests of the community and the state, “the minister emphasized.


Referring to the issue of community enlargement, Nikol Pashinyan noted: “This process was not only due to surveys but also because we had clearly stated that without the community’s consent, the enlargement would not take place. And we were talking about strengthening the local referendum institute. As a result of discussions on the implementation of this political thesis, a question arises: As the referendum is a definite burden on the community budget, the question arises, why do we impose a referendum if there can be a case when there is no objection to enlargement? That is to say, even if there is no objection, we force the community to spend its own resources on getting the obvious answer. And so we decided not to go this way, but to go in a little different one. When we announce the government’s intention to enlarge, we declare a bunch of communities, and in that community – in the former community, in the future settlement where there is an objection, citizens in that community can initiate a referendum. And when the referendum is initiated and de jure it is recorded that the community, the majority of the community is against enlargement, then we already take that opinion into account, and as we have said, we will abstain from enlargement in this case, “the Prime Minister said.


According to the Prime Minister’s observation, the village and the community are not destroyed as a result of the enlargement. “There is a community and a settlement in the case of the enlarged city, town, village. And the enlarged villages eventually become settlements. Instead, we see that communities, too, have a budget in terms of community development logic and therefore receive greater support from the government for having that budget. Only in 2019 agricultural and other equipment was provided to 24 united communities through the Regional Development Fund of Armenia for a total value of 1.2 billion AMD.


This year we are implementing approximately 16 billion AMD subsidy programs. What is a subsidy program? The subsidy program is a road built, it is lighting, a water line, a kindergarten, a house of culture and so on. And the overwhelming majority of these projects are implemented in larger communities because the subsidy program is, in our view, the main tool for territorial development. Why, because the community should also make an effort there, the government should also make an effort. We say, dear community, bring the content of your development plans, provide 40 percent of its funding, and we will provide 60 percent of that funding, in some cases even greater, “said Nikol Pashinyan. According to the head of government, it is a very specific model of development, a very specific vision.


“In cases where the community is against enlargement, let them initiate a referendum, de jure, by law, declare against the majority of the population, against the majority of voters, and the enlargement of the community will not take place. This is our approach, which I believe is fair, in line with our commitments, in line with the interests of the communities and the Republic of Armenia. But our call is to get out of the logic of this local patriotism, because by modern standards, unfortunately, today the population of the Republic of Armenia is a little larger than the average city. And if we start the process of formulating a separate identity region-by-vregion, village-by-village, we are not expected to do anything good in the future, ”the prime minister said.


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