National Assembly reforms aim to foster legislators' constitutional authority and functions, says parliamnent official

16:21 • 16.11.18

On November 13-15, the National Assembly's Chief of Staff-Secretary General Ara Saghatelyan took part in the International Conference organized by GIZ in Kyiv. It was dedicated to Strengthening Parliament’s Oversight Function in Eastern Partnership Countries.

During the conference the participants discussed the current challenges in reforming parliamentary administrations in Eastern Partnership (EAP) countries, the importance of the scientific research-analytical centres for further Parliament’s reform, as well as the challenges for a stronger cooperation between supreme audit institutions (SAI) and parliaments in EAP countries.

Saghatelyan's speech is provided below: 


Dear colleagues and friends,

I thank GIZ for the invitation and giving us the opportunity to have interesting discussion. Such meetings are indeed of great value and importance from the perspective of moving forward the reforms of parliament administrations, exchange of experience and getting to know new and interesting approaches in this field of public service.

The practical application of the new ideas discerned from the evolving discussions in such platforms is very important in order to boost the analytical and research capacities in the parliaments, to deepen interagency cooperation and improve the overall efficiency of our work.

In Armenia these questions are more than of just current interest, since – as you know – in 2018 our country transformed from semi-presidential into a parliamentary form of governance and at the moment we are in the stage of adapting to the new system. This new form of government presumes a re-evaluation of the parliament’s role in the decision-making and in formulating the domestic political agenda, as well as certain improvement of the capacities of responding to new challenges.

In the meantime, the transition to parliamentary system yielded to increased burden of responsibility on the National Assembly. Therefore, large scale reforms, including in the Administration, became more important and inevitable.

Dear colleagues,

The reform process in the parliamentary administrations requires continuity since we always have to provide for syncronisation between the functions of the entire parliamentary infrastructure and the daily needs and expectations of the members of parliament. The administration also has to serve as guarantor for the full and appropriate legislative, representative, oversight (inter alia on budgeting) and other functions.

The purpose of the ongoing reforms in the National Assembly of Armenia is to create most fertile grounds for the MPs to carry out their constitutional authority and functions. By favorable conditions I imply the creation of such systematised and effective means for the NA Administration to serve the needs of the parliament and its various bodies – the National Assembly Speaker, deputy speakers, MPs, standing committees and factions.

Unfortunately, the reforms process is not very smooth and homogeneous, often times we face various problems and challenges which slow down our pace.

I am convinced that in the early stages of these reforms the biggest challenges are the optimisation of the structure of the NA Administration and its syncronisation with the changing political needs and socio-economic conditions, as well as the expectations of the parliamentarians and the public. At this stage, as a general rule, we encounter some internal resistance between those implementing the reforms and those staffers who are hesitant to leave their comfort zone and experience difficulties in terms of acquiring new knowledge and skills. It’s here that certain technical hardships pop up, including for the reasons of absence of full coordination in the Administration, duplication of functions – among other issues – which is the “laundry list” to address in the course of the reforms.

The next challenge is to ensure relevant competency of the staffers and engage high quality experts for the needs of the parliament. Noting the budgetary restrictions, it’s close to impossible to compete with the private sector. The professionals, as a rule, prefer to work in the private sector as a good expert expects a reasonable pay.

Budgetary restrictions also impede carrying out exchange programmes, or limit the scope and frequency of those. Therefore, I think, the inability to ensure continuous flow of exchange programmes and trainings to learn best practices overseas is the Achilles’ heel of all parliamentary Administrations.

My own analysis shows, that the next issue to address, perhaps, is the lack of proper and full understanding of the role and purpose of the parliament – either in the other branches of power or the public. This perhaps is a result of the lack of relevant political culture.


The other segment of issues refers to the financial support of the Administration and its financial independence. Meantime, it’s highly important to streamline and simplify the processes of validating the expenses with relevant fiscal agencies. From this perspective, as a challenge we must highlight the importance of readiness of the government to establish a proper level of dialogue and develop certain standards of communication, including within the frameworks of due processes of parliamentary oversight.

The lack of institutional collaboration with the expert community is yet another issue to address. I will save this for our next discussion today.

Dear colleagues,

Perhaps, I would not be too wrong to conclude that the issues listed so far more or less reflect the challenges we all struggle within our administrations. But there is one other problem, or rather a challenge, that is knocking on our doors. That’s the challenge of time. The modern, technologically advanced internet society, that is easy- going, instantly informed, fast to change mood and as much fast to submit demands on one hand, and our more institutional, serious and comprehensively reflective structures on the other – are vividly moving farther from each other day by day. If we can be fully honest about it, we all observe this. Our Administrations, even those most established, are like a well taken care of, seriously looking traditional Rolls Royce luxury cars, that is reflective of every turn it makes, drives without violating the traffic rules. They used to tackle issues of public behavior by affecting popular thinking and demands with its solid look alone. Today we have a qualitatively different situation. Now our Rolls Royce cars must serve a new society that is shaped by figuratively speaking, a skater sliding between cars, by tweets, comments on Facebook walls, selfies and copy-pastes from Wikipedia. I mean the speedy, easy-going, not too deep, simple and most importantly – the inclusive is new reality, when the object of politics now by all means wants to also become the implementer. That is our new reality. Now the question is – whether our more traditional structures are ready to face this. I think the answer is – not entirely.

Today an MP expects our technical assistance in helping them to come online on Facebook for live broadcast in the first place, and not necessarily in assisting to put together a two-day international conference. Of course, I hereby bring only surface-level examples but that is only to make sure my points are illustrative enough. Yet my point is simple. We have to be able to save the traditional, the institutional, the Rolls Royce, but we ought to ensure that we catch up the skater who doesn’t go too far away in between cars and through crossroads. Otherwise we are going to miss the connection between us, which is not desirable at all. I am sure we will have opportunities to seriously discuss this in many occasions.

In conclusion, once again let me express my gratitude to the organizers and all colleagues for this timely, highly useful and productive discussion.

I thank you for your attention, and look forward to exchanging views on the above,” Ara Saghatelyan said.





LATEST NEWSAll Today news

18:21 • 19/12

Mourinho ‘refused to hire’ Ryan Giggs over affair with brother’s wife  

18:05 • 19/12

Blind creature that buries head in sand named after Trump

17:56 • 19/12

Armenia 'absolutely sovereign' in intn’l relations – MFA responds to Russian official’s statement

17:30 • 19/12

GSK and Pfizer merge healthcare arms

17:04 • 19/12

Russia hopeful Armenia ‘will have courage’ to resist US blackmail

16:18 • 19/12

German student invents airbag for smartphone: a case that detects when it’s falling and deploys springs to prevent breaks

16:00 • 19/12

Armenia ‘set to import’ more gas from Iran

15:43 • 19/12

US Congress members congratulate Pashinyan on victory for democracy

14:34 • 19/12

Armenian Foreign Ministry provides clarifications on Mammadyarov’s ‘mutual understanding’ message

13:26 • 19/12

Mammadyarov's statement 'signals positive hope' for final peace over Artsakh  

12:35 • 19/12

Zhamanak: Acting minister of culture to head ruling parliamentary faction

12:10 • 19/12

Armenia saw actual comeback of democracy in 2018 – Washington Post

11:25 • 19/12

Republican politician ‘concerned’ over Mammadyarov's statement on ‘mutual understanding’

10:46 • 19/12

US State Department clears $3.5bn sale of Patriot missiles to Turkey

10:35 • 19/12

Mammadyarov: Armenia, Azerbaijan reach unprecedented mutual understanding over Karabakh

10:08 • 19/12

Sassounian: Turkish preconditions should be countered by Armenian preconditions

09:51 • 19/12

Armenia named the Economist’s Country of the Year 2018

09:34 • 19/12

Penny Marshall, 'Laverne & Shirley' star turned director, dies aged 75

09:17 • 19/12

Belgian king ‘undecided’ about PM’s resignation

17:54 • 18/12

Costumed Santa dies at kindergarten party in Siberia

17:18 • 18/12

Russian-Armenian planned deal ‘focused on civilian research labs’

16:43 • 18/12

Pregnant Meghan Markle shows burgeoning baby bump in printed dress paired with a £550 coat on visit to Royal Variety nursing home

16:05 • 18/12

Armenia and Russia negotiating 'to ban foreign presence in biological labs’

15:21 • 18/12

Mourinho sacked by Manchester United after worst start in 28 years

15:12 • 18/12

Armenia votes against anti-Russian resolution in UN General Assembly

14:49 • 18/12

Russian plan to bar foreign troops' presence in Armenia 'proposed as restraint against third states'

14:09 • 18/12

Oscar-winning director  and 'Leviathan' producer team up for pre-Holocaust doc

13:41 • 18/12

France will continue support to future reforms in Armenia - Macron issues congratulations to Pashinyan  

13:09 • 18/12

Trump did not promise Erdogan to extradite Gulen, says White House official

12:37 • 18/12

Apple slammed for ‘violating’ Chinese court order

12:09 • 18/12

168 Zham: What scenarios are proposed to sides of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

11:14 • 18/12

Iravunq: Artsakh president 'considering resignation' amid political tensions

10:44 • 18/12

Messi closes in on Ronaldo record

10:28 • 18/12

Zhoghovurd: Foreign remittances rise 4% in Jan-Oct 2018

09:57 • 18/12

Hungarian public broadcaster targeted 'slave law' protest

09:42 • 18/12

Strasbourg: Police make public appeal in manhunt

09:21 • 18/12

Former CBS boss denied $120m exit pay

17:59 • 17/12

Geraint Thomas named Sports Personality of the Year triumphs after Tour de France success

17:43 • 17/12

US TV channel stands up to Turkish and Azerbaijani government threats against broadcasting Armenian dancers

17:31 • 17/12

Artsakh officers, soldier ‘hospitalized after gun incidents’

17:10 • 17/12

Armenian president, Georgian premier discuss bilateral cooperation agenda

16:35 • 17/12

Kim Kardashian proves how much daughter North, 5, looks like mom as she shares throwback shot of 'Baby K'

16:17 • 17/12

Moscow, Yerevan 'preparing document' to guarantee foreign servicemen's absence in Armenia

15:52 • 17/12

Sleepless nights over Sandra Bullock's blindfold, says Oscar-winning director

15:34 • 17/12

Toyota becomes presenting partner of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch relay

15:03 • 17/12

Pashinyan voiced concern 'over Russian-Azerbaijani arms trade' at meeting with Lukashenko

14:19 • 17/12

Trump working on Gulen’s extradition, Turkey claims

13:34 • 17/12

Artsakh president and Armenian ambassador to Austria discuss foreign policy cooperation  

13:14 • 17/12

Georgian patriarch 'gives blessings' to Armenia president  

12:47 • 17/12

Artsakh president hosts Armenia’s education minister

12:07 • 17/12

Boxing: Artem Dalakian beats LeBron to defend WBA title

11:55 • 17/12

Jaguar Land Rover to 'axe up to 5,000 jobs'

11:47 • 17/12

Georgia swears in first female president

11:07 • 17/12

Nasa takes closest image ever of the sun

10:47 • 17/12

Lukashenko 'rebukes' Pashinyan over failure to criticize Russian-Azerbaijani arms trade

09:54 • 17/12

Singaporean gay couple win landmark appeal to adopt surrogate child

09:06 • 17/12

At least 17 civilians reported killed in US-led coalition’s airstrike in Syria

08:46 • 17/12

Strasbourg shooting: Toll in Christmas market attack rises to five

14:18 • 15/12

Best Picture Oscar From 1947 Sells for Nearly $500,000 at Auction

13:57 • 15/12

Nagorno-Karabakh reports more Azerbaijani ceasefire violations

13:45 • 15/12

Armenian president issues congratulations to political forces elected to parliament

13:00 • 15/12

Armenian football federation fined €18,000 over match with Gibraltar

12:24 • 15/12

Chicken-egg sized diamond found in Canada's frozen north

12:15 • 15/12

Erdogan: Khashoggi killer heard saying ‘I know how to cut’

12:02 • 15/12

Peaceful resolution of Karabakh conflict requires genuine efforts of all parties

11:31 • 15/12

Senator Robert Menendez pledges to with new US envoy to Armenia on securing ‘an honest acknowledgement of Genocide’

11:01 • 15/12

Christmas letter to Santa Claus from girl ‘discovered after 120 years’

10:29 • 15/12

How to see the 'Christmas comet': Stunning photos show green space rock ahead of its closest approach, as astronomers reveal it will be visible all around the world

10:10 • 15/12

Emergency Ministry warns of heavy-going highways in Armenia

09:24 • 15/12

Erdogan, Trump discuss Syria amid Turkey’s warning of new military operation

09:18 • 15/12

Australia ‘formally recognizes’ West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

09:01 • 15/12

Miracle six-day old baby survives Ebola in Congo

08:52 • 15/12

Macron pays tribute to Strasbourg terrorism victims

17:49 • 14/12

James Harden's 50-point triple-double, 4th of career, carries Rockets to victory over Lakers

17:34 • 14/12

Toyota recalls pickups, SUVs to fix air bag, brake problems

17:09 • 14/12

Yerevan court turns down motion to arrest ex-official

16:37 • 14/12

Mourinho: Man Utd 'far' from being built in my image

16:04 • 14/12

Lavrov: Russia expects renewed talks over Karabakh after cabinet formation in Armenia

15:35 • 14/12

Twitter releases first ever Transparency Report including policy violation stats for the first time

15:18 • 14/12

Armenian ombudsman visits jailed ex-President Robert Kocharyan

15:05 • 14/12

VEON appoints Ursula Burns as Chairman and CEO

14:53 • 14/12

Turkish military conducts airstrikes in northern Iraq

14:44 • 14/12

Pashinyan's issues condolences to France's Macron

14:08 • 14/12

Nagorno-Karabakh has new Minister of Defense; other government officials appointed  

12:52 • 14/12

That's Erie! Photographer snaps face in huge waves on windy day on the Great Lake

12:43 • 14/12

Demonstrators, police clash near Hungarian Parliament

12:25 • 14/12

Istanbul hosts Parajanov exhibition

11:50 • 14/12

Nancy Wilson, Grammy Winning US Jazz Singer, Dies at 81

11:31 • 14/12

Hraparak: Armenia's new government to have one deputy premier instead of three  

10:47 • 14/12

US Senate passes resolution to end US support for the Saudi war in Yemen

10:31 • 14/12

32 arrested at US-Mexico border in support of migrant caravan

09:46 • 14/12

White House to Officially Delay China Tariff Hike to March

09:34 • 14/12

Strasbourg Christmas market attacker shot dead

09:20 • 14/12

US Senate approves nomination of new ambassador to Armenia

17:40 • 13/12

Armenia 'will attend' BSEC summit in Baku

17:19 • 13/12

Pashinyan hosts Artsakh president to discuss domestic, foreign policy issues

16:33 • 13/12

Trump administration ‘won’t stand for Khashoggi’

16:14 • 13/12

Barack Obama beams as he accepts the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope award in New York  

15:37 • 13/12

Russia’s Lavrov to meet with top Azerbaijani leaders in Baku

14:56 • 13/12

Apple to build new $1bn campus in Texas