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 Tuesday, July 8 2014 09:10:10

Tatevik Shahunyan

Eduard Sharmazanov: The opposition camp has no leader to steer the people

Eduard Sharmazanov: The opposition camp has no leader to steer the people

 


Mr. Sharmazanov, how
do you assess the current domestic political situation in the republic given
the new wave of civic movements, which are displeased with the latest decisions
of the authorities?    


 


The current domestic political
situation in Armenia meets the logic of natural democratic processes characteristic
of any country that chooses the law-governed path of development. So, the
active steps of the civic movements in Armenia are a quite normal
phenomenon.    


 


Don’t you think that the
civic movements express the growing public discontent with the authorities’
steps and that the discontent may develop into mass actions of civil
disobedience? 


 


I do not think this may develop into
structural processes of disobedience. There are no prerequisites for that and the
opposition camp has no leader capable of steering the people. One of the
opposition leaders is retired; the other one is constantly travelling.  After all, we should realize that any destabilization
damages the state but does not resolve the problems. I think the fact that the
civic movements are speeding up efforts has nothing to do with deterioration of
the situation in the republic. I think it only demonstrates the consistency of our civil activists. Nevertheless, I am not inclined to think that
everything is ideal in the country. The country with 35% of its population below
the poverty line cannot be ideal. In the meantime, I should say that the social
situation in the country can be improved by means of reforms, not actions of protest.


 


What’s the problem
then?


 


There is no problem. We are conducting the
reforms step by step. The wages of state employees, for instance, will grow on
1 July 2014.  


 


Do you think it’s
enough?


 


It is one of the steps. We are working to remove
the problems.  Unfortunately, we have no
Aladdin’s lamp to resolve all the problems at once. We can follow the other
political forces’ example and point at the shortcomings, naming 112 items
instead of 12. No mediators are needed between the authorities and the people.
We perfectly see the problems and strive to solve them. Let’s refer to the facts. All the forces criticizing
us today were at power not so long ago. Some of them were unable to provide the
republic with electricity and heating, others tried to take great merit to
themselves and shift the blame for the negative processes. It is necessary to
work, not to speak. I think someday the doubletalk of the non-coalition forces
will lead to an internal conflict. Even now they have discrepancies about the
constitutional reforms. Today Armenia has numerous social problems, the unresolved
Karabakh conflict, the closed border with Turkey, etc. But we have an action
plan to resolve the problems. I think Armenia’s Eurasian integration, i.e. Armenia’s
accession to the Customs Union will boost the economy and create prerequisites
for settlement of the social problems.


 


Mr. Sharmazanov, you
are constantly speaking of step-by-step reforms. The Republican Party of
Armenia has been the ruling party of the country for over 15 years. Wasn’t this
time enough to conduct tangible reforms?


 


It wasn't…


 


Well, how long will it
take you to show the tangible results of your reforms to the society? 


 


I'd better repeat the words of deceased Prime
Minister Andranik Margaryan: nobody will remember what has been done and
everybody will remember what has not been done. I can bring numerous examples
of large-scale projects and programs we have implemented. Certainly, you will
say that we should not boast of it because we are the power and we must do our
job. No
argument there. Anyway, despite our flaws,
the society still pins its hopes on the Republican Party.


 


Do you think it still
does?


 


It will be clear in 2017. Last year the
mayoral elections in Yerevan demonstrated that the public sentiments did not
change at least. 


 


Mr. Sharmazanov, the
President of Armenia has initiated constitutional reforms. The public
opinion is not unambiguous.
Not all people think that the existing problems can be resolved by means
of amendments to the Basic Law. What is your position?


 


I think now it's the best time to conduct constitutional reforms
between the general elections. I believe that the constitutional reforms will
allow improving the public administration, creating more efficient mechanisms
to protect human rights and balance the powers of the power branches.     


 


Nevertheless, the
radical problems in the republic such as corruption, shadow, and protectionism
cannot be solved by the constitutional reforms…


 


The settlement of these problems needs two prerequisites – a relevant
legislative base and a political will.


 


Which one is missing?


 


There are both a legislative base and a political will. The problem is
that it is very hard for the countries with such a low social level to combat these
phenomena. Einstein says, 'We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of
thinking we used when we created them'. Probably, the constitutional reforms
will help us form new thinking. 


 


You have mentioned in
your interview that the opposition has no leader. Given the latest domestic
political processes, don't you think that the second president of Armenia
Robert Kocharyan is entering the arena as a new opposition leader?


 


If you mean Robert Kocharyan's recent frequent interviews on the
ongoing developments in the country, I think that the second president, like
any other citizen of Armenia, expresses his point of view. Actually, I think
that new realities are being formed in Armenia, where the role of a particular
personality is leveled out, while the role of political forces is growing.

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