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2011 top ten events in Armenia

Here are the top 10 events in Armenia according to news.am website:
1. Members of the ruling coalition sign new memorandum Leaders of the Armenian ruling forces – Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) and Orintas Yerkir (the Rule of Law), signed a new coalition memorandum on February 17.

The signing party leaders were: Serzh Sargsyan (RPA), Gagik Tsarukyan (RAP) and Arthur Baghdasaryan (Orinats Yerkir).

All of the coalition members agreed to support Serzh Sargsyan’s nomination during the 2013 presidential elections.

2. Hunger strike of Armenian Heritage Party leader: 

Leader of Heritage Party, former Armenian Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian went on hunger strike on March 15. He spent fifteen days in Liberty Square in the
center of Yerevan. He put forward fifteen demands among them: power to people, free citizen, secure state, and “no” to injustice, poverty, emigration, corruption and others.

3. Opposition returns to Liberty Square:
Thousands gathered to the rally of the opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) on March 17 marked new format of relations
between the main political powers. During the rally ANC leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan stressed dialogue with authorities is possible if three demands of the opposition are fulfilled.

He said the authorities must release political prisoners, give the opposition right to hold rallies in the Liberty Square and set up an independent committee to investigate cases of those killed in the March 1 events.

4. Amnesty declared:

Armenian parliament voted for amnesty bill with 91 votes “for” and 1 abstained on May 26. The amnesty was proposed by President Serzh Sargsyan on 20th anniversary of Armenia’s independence.

MP Sasun Mikaelyan and newspaper editor Nikol Pashinyan convicted in connection with the March 1 events were also released under an amnesty.

5. Karabakh peace process:

The year marked active participation of Russia in mediating between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Two meetings of the Armenian and Azeri leaders were held in Russia’s Sochi and Kazan cities under the mediation of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

In June Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in the region to hand over to the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan Serzh Sargsyan  and Ilham Aliyev offers of the Russian leader regarding resolution of the conflict. However, the process did not move forward.

6. Political dialogue:

Working groups representing the government and opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) kicked off a dialogue  on July 18. The meetings hardly resulted in crucial changes but eased tension in the society.

However, the initiative failed after the August 9 incident involving ANC young activists and law enforcers. Seven opposition activists were arrested. Three were arrested, while the rest were released by the court. Later two of the arrested were released with the exception of Tigran Arakelyan.  The opposition quitted the dialogue.

7. Dismissals of high ranking officials:
2011 was marked by a number of dismissals of high ranking officials. The first to leave his post was head of presidential staff Karen Karapetyan.
Mayor of Yerevan, also Karen Karapetyan, Chief of Police Alik Sargsyan, parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamyan and deputy head of presidential
staff Mikael Minasyan resigned as well.

8. Armenia marks 20th anniversary of Independence:
Armenia marked 20th anniversary of Independence by holding large-scale military parade on September 21.

9. Spiritual leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan meet in Yerevan:

Caucasus Muslim Board (CMB) Chairman, and spiritual leader of Caucasus Muslims, Allahshukur Pashazade arrived in Armenia to attend  CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) Interreligious Council Presidium session in late November.

10. French National Assembly approves bill criminalizing Armenian Genocide denial:

France’s National Assembly passed on December 22 the bill criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial. The bill introduced by MP Valerie Boyer supposes a year in jail or 45,000 euro punishment for those who will challenge or extremely minimize the fact of the 1915 Armenian Genocide officially recognized by France on January  29, 2001. Later the text was changed to “punishment for denial of legislatively recognized genocides.”

The bill will be submitted for French Senate’s confirmation. In response Turkey launched anti-French campaign recalling Ambassador and freezing
the ties.
Source: Armenian News (news.am), 01 January 2012 (adjusted)

Added: Friday, January 06, 2012
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