On the Formation of the new Government of the Republic of Armenia*
*This statement is open for any initiative and entity to join it
Much of the discourse surrounding the resignation of Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and the appointment of the new Prime Minister has been based on narrow-minded and primitive speculations about the name of the individual who will take the post. In the meantime, the authorities continue to make declarations that are against the will of the people, and that are instead focused on protecting their own personal interest, while the media and a large segment of society finds itself in a state of passive objection. All the while, the most important issue at hand has been conspicuously absent from the dominant discourse: What will the new government’s political reforms agenda be based on, and in what way will it benefit Armenian society? Indeed, what demands will the public place before the new government, regardless of who the individual taking the post of prime minister will be? Considering the fact that the discourse surrounding the new prime minister is meant to divert attention away from this more important issue, we demand that all political forces involved with forming the new government publicly present their policy concepts, and base them on the following demands that have been formulated by civil society:
- All policy must be based on reinforcing and supporting the principles of Armenian sovereignty, human rights, and democracy. Policy must be formulated for the public interest, and for the welfare and happiness of the citizenry.
- Any person with conflicts of interest must be forbidden from taking up governmental posts, thereby setting a precedent for public servants with clean records, and removing from office all public servants who have abused their position for personal gain.
- Genuine anti-corruption measures must be initiated, which will target high-level political corruption and the monopolistic oligarchic economic system, by exposing and prosecuting individuals involved in corrupt activities. The details of private corporations registered in offshore territories must be exposed.
- The economy must be brought into the public sphere, by pulling businesses belonging to oligarchs out of the shadow economy, and aggressively tackling monopolistic practices through strict antitrust legislation. Oligarchic control of small and medium businesses must end, and the tax code must be restructured in favor of low and middle-income wage earners. Tax policy must be based on the principle of social justice.
- Anti-social policies adopted by various state bodies must end, such as those on pensions, transport fares, utility prices, and the privatization of public space. State bodies must stop putting pressure on employers and employees to pay into the unconstitutional mandatory pensions fund, which the public has already deemed an unacceptable policy.
- New policies for regulating the mining industry must be developed. A state-owned sector must be developed to mitigate foreign exploitation. Strict tax policies must be set for ensuring a fair distribution of the profits created from mining, for the benefit of present and future generations. The damages caused by mining to the environment, economy, and to peoples health must be compensated for. The operations of illegal mines and those that commit violations must be ceased. Policies aimed at improving the health of residents, limiting mining, and environmental conservation must be prioritized.
- Student councils at universities must be nonaligned with any political party. Educational institutions must be prohibited from serving the interests of political parties. The development of a critical and quality education system must no longer be hindered.
- Measures must be created to prevent unregulated and arbitrary relations within the armed forces. The armed forces must be developed into an institution based on professional expertise, tasked with defending the Republic of Armenia and its citizens from external threats. Legal guarantees must be set for preventing the intervention of the armed forces in the internal-domestic affairs of the country, and public oversight over the armed forces must be secured.
- The destruction of historic heritage sites must be stopped, and measures must be created for restoring already demolished monuments. All monuments must be returned to their original sites.
- The active participation of all stakeholders in the decision making process of all public bodies must be provided for, guaranteeing the presence of citizens in all sessions of those bodies, and regularly publishing detailed accountability reports on public spending.
Today, the task of creating a political agenda by social initiatives has matured to encompass the entire range of issues of importance to the public interest and social welfare. The government must be placed under the supervision of civil society. It must be tasked only with carrying out the demands of the public, and not the bidding of certain individuals.
With this statement, we, the undersigned, are announcing our intention and willingness to work collectively towards realizing this public agenda, which will be implemented by specific and concrete changes in governmental policy.
“Azatagrum” (Liberation) initiative
“Inqnishkhan Hayastan” (Sovereign Armenia) Civic Initiative
Union of Initiatives for Protection of Yerevan
Pan-Armenian Environmental Front
“We are the Owners of the City” Civic Initaitve
“We Pay 100 Drams” movement
Let's Prevent Gas Price Hike
Save Teghut Civic Initiative
Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center
“Asparez” Journalists’ Club
Cooperation for Development NGO
Helsinki Committee of Armenia
Victims of State Needs NGO
17:55 April 14, 2014