New Armenian government's program - collection of wishful thinking and dreams?
Armenia’s National Assembly has approved the new government’s program yesterday by a vote of 62 to 39. The Cabinet's target priorities are elimination of artificial monopolies, the protection of economic competition, creation of jobs, overcoming of poverty, denial of violence, expedient use of natural resources. The program includes three priority areas - agriculture, information technology and tourism. The document includes sections on "Ensuring external and internal security", "Fight against corruption", "Free, worthy and happy citizen", "Consistent development of the economy", "Armenia’s relations with its diaspora".
There were different views regarding the new government's program not only in the parliament, but also in expert circles. The core of the criticism from both the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) and a number of independent experts was the absence of any numbers or deadlines to solve the tasks set in the program. According to some politicians and experts, it is focused only on development vectors, those that will bring visible results only in the long term. The fact that the document does not provide any specific mechanisms for implementing the promised changes in the economy, education and agriculture was a matter of concern as well.
Many RPA representatives called the program "collection of wishful thinking and dreams." A similar opinion was expressed by the former prime minister (1993-1996), Doctor of Economics Hrant Bagratyan: "Let's leave aside the missing figures, then what's in this populist program we have? The document say nothing about what exactly the new government is going to change. They want to provide quality education, there is a similar approach to the health sector. I want to remind the prime minister and all other ministers that the ministries are called upon to develop policy in their spheres," Bagratyan said.
The government supporters argue that the document reflects the recent "velvet" revolution, its content aspect: the program contains all the ideas presented by the prime minister's team during the protests. According to government supporters, the lack of specific figures, including such important indicators as the GDP growth and the level of inflation, is explained by the complexity of the transition period. Thus, chairman of the Republican Union of Employers of Armenia Gagik Makaryan believes that the lack of figures in the program was due to its short-term nature, because, according to the same program, the snap elections to the parliament should be held within a year.
According to these experts and politicians, effective struggle against corruption and shadow economy, promised by the new government, will lead to lower prices and other tangible results. However, the country's Constitution involves neither a transition period nor a short-term government program. Article 151 of the Constitution clearly states that "the government must submit a program."
According to a number of analysts, the government is the main target for strikes from the counter-revolution, the danger of which cannot be underestimated. From this point of view, it is possible that this is right that there is no specifics in the program. However, in the future in the case of any "failure" of the government, which enjoys the exclusive trust of the population, the Cabinet of Ministers may face accusations of evading responsibility. Moreover, they plan to hold early elections not before the end of the year, as previously reported, but in the course of the year.