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Parliamentary Hearings on Reforms Planned in Local Self-Government System
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On September 22, the RA NA Standing Committee on Territorial Administration, Local Self-Government, Agriculture and Environment Protection, moderated by Vahe Ghalumyan, held parliamentary hearings related to the package of draft laws on Making Amendments and Addenda to the Law on RA Administrative-Territorial Division and the presented enclosed ones authored by the Government.

The deputies, the representatives from the executive body, marz administrations, international and NGOs took part in the hearings.

In his welcoming speech, the Committee Chair thanked for participating in the debate related to the most important reforms in the local self-government system. Vahe Ghalumyan noted that the RA Government adopted the concept of Community Enlargement and Formation of Inter-Community Associations on November 10, 2011.

54 projects of unifying the communities were carried out from February 14, 2016: 54 communities were formed with the unification of 486 communities.

The RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure developed and put into circulation the package of draft laws on Amending the Law on RA Administrative-Territorial Division and presented the enclosed ones.

According to the Committee Chair, the administrative-territorial reforms are necessary from the viewpoint of ensuring the continuity of the community development, providing services by the community which are accessible and of more quality, more effectively using the combined resources of enlarged communities.

Vahe Ghalumyan stated that in this phase, the communities presenting the national minorities driven out from the enlargement process. He has expressed hope that he will touch upon the initiative of the representatives of the community in the near future.

The Deputy Minister of the RA Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Vache Terteryan thanked the professional, civic teams and the international partners for professional consulting assistance. He referred to the new opportunities of the enlarged communities and the existing challenges.

“We will have a scheme of the administrative-territorial division with these amendments, when 78 communities will be, 71 of which will be unified, one is Yerevan separately, we will have 6 ununified communities, one of which will be Gyumri, and also 5 – the communities inhabited with the national minorities, at this moment we do not refer to them,” Vache Terteryan said. According to the rapporteur, proportional development of the territories of the country can be achieved only within the frameworks of political and economic decentralization.

Vache Terteryan answered to the raised issues of the participants at the discussion which referred to the disproportions existing in the list of the enlarged communities, the urgency of the legislative initiative, the role of Yerevan at the core of the community development, the remuneration of the Council of the Elders, public awareness, the qualitative changes of the works of social services, the inclusion of the communities presenting national minorities in the enlargement process.

In their speeches, the participants of the discussion touched upon the advantages of rural and urban habitats, made a number of proposals regarding the community enlargement.

The deputy Rustam Bakoyan has underlined that the Alagyaz Yazidi community has been in the enlarged communities in 2016, and quite effective management is carried out there. The speaker highlighted that in this stage the communities inhabited with national minorities were not enlarged, giving them opportunity to discuss the existing problems with the representatives and make an effective decision.

As Babken Tunyan evaluated, a mechanism was developed for the communities to have independency, financial independence and effective management.

As Armenuhi Kyureghyan has observed, it is a clear constitutional requirement to listen to the opinions of the communities before adopting the legislative initiative. In her opinion, a discussion should be carried out on the procedures of the implementation of the process.

According to Nazeli Baghdasaryan, the discussion has been quite important and effective, and the voiced opinions, meditations will promote the formation of a flexible system in the local self-government bodies.

In his final speech, Vache Terteryan has emphasized that a useful discussion has been held, and the executive body will refer to the raised questions. He has underlined that all big reforms suppose will, trust and determination to move forward. “The societies passed this complicated reform with difficulty. We should try to go forward with proportional, joint work,” the Deputy Chair said.

In his final speech, Vahe Ghalumyan has noted that during the discussion, the voiced opinions will contribute to making right decisions.

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