Sources: Along with prime minister’s post, RPA determined to make some other staff reshuffles – Sharmazanov taking parliament speaker’s position, Haroutiunyan going back to the justice ministry, while Sargsyan to engage in diplomacy
ArmInfo’s interview with Armen Martirosyan, Deputy Head of Heritage Party
by Ashot Safaryan
Mr. Martirosyan, would you comment on the processes inside your party. The reshuffles inside the parliamentary faction of your party are mostly taken as a split. Mass media reports on these processes show the public attention to your party and expectations from it.
We have always been active and will keep acting consistently also in 2014. I think it would be wrong speaking of any split in the party as our actions are based on the idea of a united and consolidated fight. Furthermore, we have always supported the initiatives of oter political forces, civil movements, including the movement of the Artsakh War veterans for liquidation of the crisis situation in Armenia. I hope the efforts of the veterans will not be useless and in February the opposition forces will launch a political fight together with them. Heritage Party jointly with three parliamentary parties Prosperous Armenia, ARFD and Armenian National Congress fought against mandatory accumulative pension system and ratification of gas agreements with Russia in the passed year. Interaction of these four political forces, their political will and consistent actions along with other factors may turn into en effective instrument of changing the power in the country. We are well aware that without a shift in power, it is impossible to change the government system. Long-term solution to problems and liquidation of the challenges the country has faced implies shift in power, first of all.
Then, what made Tevan Poghosyan to waive his deputy mandate?
We met Tevan Pogosyan to discuss his decision. We positively assessed his activity within the parliamentary faction. For his part, he assured us that his decision to waive the mandate is not linked to the work of the faction. For this reason, we called on him to revise his decision and go on working as a member of the parliament. The rumors about disagreements within Heritage are conditioned by several reasons, first of all, there is a certain interest to the activity of the party. Secondly, this entire scrape is of an artificial nature.
The point is that the challenges Armenia has faced are conditioned not so much by the processes within the opposition, as by the policy of the authorities, unfair distribution of incomes, corruption and other circumstances. And now to draw the attention of our citizens away from such problems, the authorities with help of their propaganda machine wipe up such myths and intrigues around the opposition parties. I agree that the decision of a member of the parliament to withdraw from a mandate should be covered by the press. But on the other hand, it is obvious that this problem is not among the most acute ones in Armenia today. There are more relevant problems linked with development of the country and raising of effectiveness of the management system.
Second president Robert Kocharyan has been recently sharply criticizing these actions of the authorities. What do you think of such “remote discussion” given that many government positions are still occupied by the second president’s minions?
No one leaves the political arena after stepping down as president. This also concerns the second president of Armenia. The levers he had during his presidency secure his impact on the political processes even after his presidency. This is especially relevant for Armenia, where the system has not changed even despite the change of the presidents and the opposition has never come to power via free and fair elections. Today Kocharyan has damaging information about a lot of people who are still at power and in business. Given these factors, his impact is certainly immense.
In the meantime, I rule out any possible conflict between Robert Kocharyan and the incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan. I think that either of them has his own team, and these teams may have discrepancies related to distribution of resources, since the resources are getting fewer and fewer. Amid almost 70% poverty in the country and large-scale migration, the fight for power will only be intensifying. And the "conflict" between Kocharyan and the Prime Minister should be considered in this context. It completely fits in the context of "behind-the-scenes showdowns" inside the power. Otherwise, Kocharyan would have criticized the President, first of all, not the Prime Minister. The Head of the Government is not a representative of a certain political team, he has not been conducting his own policy, he was appointed by Serzh Sargsyan. And when Kocharyan chooses the Prime Minister as a target, it becomes clear that there can be no real conflict between the two presidents.
Depletion of resources and the countrywide anti-governmental public protests against have not shattered the authorities yet. Don’t you think that the parliamentary opposition is insufficiently consistent in its actions and initiatives?
The Armenian authorities' positions remain strong, first of all, because the fight against them is pinpoint, not large-scale. Most of the citizens are still reluctant to take part in this fight. The citizens fail to come to Liberty Square to express their protest and prefer expressing their support via social networks only. This passivity is the key reason of failures in the fight against the authorities' actions. Physical presence is needed to gain results. The fight against the authorities is being conducted discretely. Look at four parliamentary factions: Heritage, Prosperous Armenia, ARF Dashnaktsutyun, and Armenian National Congress. Somewhere they join efforts, for instance, to prevent introduction of the compulsory accumulative pension system or ratification of the gas agreements with Russia. But in other affairs they display different stances very often. However, one thing is clear. Change of power should become the priority task. The oppositionist is convinced that if all the four forces realize this necessity, if they understand that long- term reforms are possible in case of change of power only, they must conduct a joint fight. In this case, the public will also get involved in the fight by all means.
Will Prosperous Armenia Party that was once part of the authorities fight against them now?
Many representatives of Prosperous Armenia say that it can't go on this way and it is only the change of power that can improve the socio-economic situation. But the question whether these statements will become the official stance of that party and its leader is still hanging in the air. The same concerns ARFD. Both of these forces were at the helm of state in their day.