President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan made a speech at the ruling Republican Party Council meeting held on September 7 in Yerevan. Below is the full text of the President’s speech.
The 2015 constitutional changes were perceived by some as just another political event, conditioned first of all by the political situation and need to solve some personal issues but not by the imperative to solve fundamental problems facing the country.
Our arguments brought during the constitutional changes campaign, figures, which unequivocally prove the advantages of the parliamentary system of governance for the stability of the country, its economic development as well as from the viewpoint of the reliability of the political system, were viewed by many as simply campaign ruses.
The situation would really remain the same had we limited ourselves to the simulation of reforms, had we not seriously pursued the goal of giving flesh and blood to the ideas, which lie in the base of our Constitution.
On February 12, I spoke about the implementation of the constitutional changes, therefore about the vision for the development of our country.
Years preceding the economic reforms were in the center of our attention, while we had left political reforms for somewhat better times with the understanding that economic reforms would create more favorable conditions for the political reforms. It’s been evident for a long time now that without political reforms the results of the economic reforms will not fully satisfy us. Today, everyone understands the necessity of political reforms.
Political reforms first of all imply political culture: new approaches for the resolution of political disputes and problems facing the country, ability to refrain from talking to political opponents from the position of force, a free entry into power of decisive and full of ideas people, making the Parliament the number one platform in the country, ability to unite ideas and notions of all able forces irrespective of their political standing, etc. Political changes are not ends in themselves; they are not done through the urge of this or that international organization, moreover through their demand; these are reforms made to have a better homeland, a safer homeland; they are made to ensure millennia-long life and work on the land of our predecessors.
I repeat all this is provided for in the newly amended Constitution.
The constitutional changes were preceded by complicated, complex works, which were demanding professional activities and which not always were public. One example of that is the unprecedented cooperation with the representatives of the opposition and civil society on the Electoral Code, which has been going on in recent months, and we hope that in two or three days it will be successfully concluded.
The preliminary works were unfortunately stalled or rather to say were pushed into the background after the April war. We as usual learn from the war lessons: significant works continue and they will go on regardless of any process. The recent events have also slowed us down, however there is no more time to lose.
Dear Party members, dear friends, I repeat – we have no right and no time to slow down.
I am confident that each of those present here understands that a speedy resolution of the problems facing our country is more important and principal than the role or position which each of us is holding or may hold in the state structure.
Our Party is multilayered: every stratum of the society is represented here. We have proved that we possess the necessary potential to solve any historically created problem. At the same time, I believe we may not limit ourselves to the potential, which exists, in our Party and for the resolution of the problems facing us we need to find a person or persons who are able and ready to assume that difficult and responsible task – no matter where in the world they are now.
I would like to note that soon you may see considerable changes. I mean first of all the existing policies, the priorities, style, objectives also having in mind the compliance with the requirements of the amended Constitution. As a result there certainly will be also personnel changes. There will be changes in almost every area – from the Presidential Administration to the legal and judicial system. Today, however we will speak about the government.
You know that today Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian presented his resignation. Moments ago, the executive body of our Party upon my proposal has adopted a decision to endorse the candidature of Karen Karapetian for the position of Prime Minister of Armenia.
We all know very well Mr. Karapetian’s abilities and style. He is really capable of spearheading the wave of reforms in Armenia, to lead the society towards new economic and political freedoms, to break the stereotypes, to provide new flexibility to the economy, etc. I am confident that working efficiently, Karen Karapetian will be able to become a symbol of changes in Armenia; he will be able to put our future development on the path preset by the RA Constitution, which means a modern path.
Recently, I have had long conversation with Mr. Karapetian. We have discussed numerous issues ranging from boosting the economy up to breathing a new life into the Republican Party of Armenia which means we have spoken about almost everything. I have received a positive response from the person who is ready to move forward decisively with the rising tide of the reforms. I have seen determination and most importantly a strong belief that the preset goals are realistic and achievable.
Obviously, the new Government under the amended Constitution should work with the totally different philosophy. It should not hesitate to assume the responsibility, should not fault the outsiders for its failures, and should be open for criticism and cooperation but also resolute in its objectives.
Utilizing the entire potential of the Armenian nation, the new Government should reinstate broad trust towards the authorities, find unconventional solutions for our economic and social problems which will ensure the state’s sustainable development and will strengthen Armenia’s position in the region.
The amended Constitution is based on the notion of an efficient utilization of the entire potential of our country, institutional guarantees for the involvement of the broad strata of our society in all areas. Without open governance it is impossible to provide for a broad public trust which means it is impossible to provide for a qualitatively new development of the country. I see the basic task of the Government in ensuring transparency and implementation of economic reforms in the open way which will reinforce the base for having a stable, free competition economy which will allow all entrepreneurs to fully realize their potential without bureaucratic red tape.
True to the spirit of constitutional changes, the new government will certainly have a greater freedom to act and develop, hence to assume a greater responsibility. The tempo is important, as well as the speed and efficiency. I have no doubt that everything will be fine.
Allow me on behalf of us all to thank Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian for leading the Government of the country in this critical period of time. For the new political culture it is pivotal that an official is decent enough not to cling to his position when he has done his best at the position.
I highly value this step of Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian: under his leadership the Government in the last two years has been able to ensure economic stability, to keep the country immune from the possible negative repercussions of the shocks coming from outside, and as a result of the implemented policies to ensure economic indicators which would make happy many countries. However, he was never complacent with the results and was constantly pointing out that Armenia needs a greater, more stable and long-term growth. Prime Minister Abrahamian tried to talk to the citizens of our country in a plain, simple language, listened to the people and was heard by them. The Government did its best to prepare the country for the entry into a new stage of reforms: it was a huge work, and he accomplished it successfully. Thank you very much, Mr. Abrahamian.
Also, Hovik Abrahamian is getting ready to participate actively at the upcoming parliamentary elections, which means of course that our mutual work will continue.
I congratulate Karen Karapetian on assuming the position of the Head of the Government of the Republic of Armenia. We are entering a critical phase, the responsibility is great and expectations are large. I am confident that we all will unconditionally support his initiatives. I congratulate and wish success to us all.