Remarks delivered by Nikol Pashinyan at National Assembly special sitting before the vote on election of prime-ministerial candidates
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Honorable National Assembly Speaker,
Dear Members of Parliament,
The My Step parliamentary faction’s leader spoke about the reasons behind today’s special sitting. In fact, yes, we have come together to implement the understandings reached with the leaders of parliamentary factions. Prior to that, discussions were held with the RA President, which resulted in an agreement to hold early parliamentary elections on June 20 this year. Today marks the first stage of the proposed vote.
I want to emphasize the following: there have been many discussions and speculations that at some point some forces will try to develop a so-called different scenario at the second stage. Last time I stated from this rostrum that if there are any attempts to breach the understandings, we will resort to our ready-made solution, namely that the My Step faction will elect a prime minister. I hope there will be no such attempts.
I am not going to address the National Assembly as a prime-ministerial nominee. With your permission, I will just touch on an issue related to COVID-19. Today, my wife and I were vaccinated against the coronavirus, and I want to urge everyone to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. I also ask the MPs to get vaccinated and to make it public, because there is a wide discussion in the world and it seems likely that restrictions on the movement of unvaccinated citizens may be introduced in the second half of 2021. It is difficult to say whether such a decision will be made or not, but we must be aware of this.
Why in the second half of 2021? Since the vaccine market, that is, the supply is now regulated, the availability is expanding, and the full vaccination cycle takes up to 2 months. I want to emphasize that we have acquired a fairly large amount of different types of vaccines, and we have the opportunity to launch a large-scale vaccination campaign.
At the same time, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that we have witnessed some reduction in COVID-19 statistics of late, and if we organize the vaccination process correctly, we will be able to quickly overcome the epidemic.
Why is this important? I was talking about possible restrictions for unvaccinated citizens to travel abroad, which means that even in the case of a negative answer, if a citizen is not vaccinated, there may be restrictions on travel. I would also like to emphasize that international travel agencies are being guided by an important criterion - the level of vaccination in a given country.
Today we can see tourists in different parts of Yerevan and Armenia, and if we organize the vaccination cycle correctly, we will be back to the turnover of 2019. It is also important that hotels, caterers, and service companies have their employees vaccinated. Earlier today we discussed with the minister of healthcare the possibility of issuing some kind of government signs for caterers, hotels with 70 percent or more of vaccinated personnel indicating that it is generally safe to use their services.
I also urge you not to give in to speculations about vaccines, which say that for example 200 million vaccinations were made; there were 187 or 200 complaints and a case of death was even recorded.
Today I thought that incidents and even fatalities might have been recorded, if we had just given drinking water to 200 million people. And I urge you not to give in to these propaganda tricks, I urge especially public leaders to show by their own example the importance of this process. Thank you.