STRASBOURG — The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) today elected, at the opening of its Summer 2017 Session, two new Vice-Presidents: Arpine Hovhannisyan (Armenia, EPP/CD) and Valeriu Ghiletchi (Republic of Moldova, EPP/CD).

Twenty Vice-Presidents are elected annually at the beginning of an ordinary session and remain in office until the opening of the next session (but a Vice-President whose delegation is renewed in the course of a session does not remain in office).

The newly-elected PACE Vice-President Hovhannisyan, delivered speech in Strasbourg calling on to assume collective responsibility towards the structure and take steps to reveal corruption scandal.

“For me it’s a very symbolic moment since this is my first speech as head of Armenia’s delegation at PACE. I am very happy for returning to the Assembly. I have worked here for 3-5 years which means that I am not new member in PACE”, Hovhannisyan said.

She expressed concern that the issue of mistrust towards PACE President Pedro Agramunt, corruption scandal and the investigation over the case are included in the agenda’s Progress report.

“Now we are facing a situation where everyone can speak about a person who has zero confidence in this Assembly. Everyone can state that he has no dignity, everyone can assist that he is corrupt and is engaged in a number of actions which oppose PACE values”, Arpine Hovhannisyan said.

She stated that at the moment there is a crisis of trust in the structure due to the activities of the PACE President. Hovhannisyan said this situation is unacceptable and intolerable calling on not only to speak about it, but also to take action.

“Dear colleagues, we have inherited this Assembly from two political figures as a cradle of democracy, from those who really appreciated these values, and now we need to assume responsibility for these values. We are those people who form the face of the Assembly. Therefore, we need to decide who must present it and who can take actions on behalf of the Assembly. And this means that we need to show our stance towards that person.

In conclusion, I want to call on taking action. Either we assume collective responsibility toward PACE or our attitude toward it changes, and we start react to it not as a cradle of democracy, but as a place of expressing views of several reporters. We need to really understand that this is very important for all of us”, Hovhannisyan said.

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