Fri, 23 Aug 2019

YEREVAN -- Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian says his most important accomplishment during his first 14 months in office has been the development of an enduring democracy in the South Caucasus nation.

'The greatest achievement in my perception is democracy and the democratic image of Armenia and the fact that, in today's world, Armenia is considered to be a democratic country,' he told RFE/RL in an interview on July 17.

'Democratic elections were held in Armenia in 2018. For the first time, the results were not questioned or publicly contested. This is an exceptional event in the history of [Armenia] and I would consider it a major success,' he said.

Pashinian assumed the premiership in May 2018 after a dramatic but peaceful popular revolution in the impoverished nation.

A former journalist, Pashinian led three weeks of antigovernment protests that forced Republican (HHK) leader and former President Serzh Sarkisian to step down as prime minister just days after he was elected to the position by the parliament.

After weeks of political drama, Pashinian was eventually chosen prime minister with a vow to end corruption, improve economic conditions, and ensure equality among citizens and a free press.

His government has cracked down on some former leaders, accusing them of crimes under previous regimes, raising complaints of a heavy hand by some critics.

Pashinian listed his 'biggest and most important' goals as the 'anticorruption struggle, the equality of the people before the law, the elimination of monopolies, and ultimately the citizen's sense of self-rule in Armenia.'

He also acknowledged that Armenia was still hampered by 'bad governance.'

'There are 1 to 2 percent new people in this government [since he took office] and 98 percent from a management system that we had before the change of power,' he said. 'This system of management ultimately existed for many years, and it became systematic.'

He added that currently, 'we have situations where the management system does not specifically address the issues logically because many people are accustomed to working under a corrupt system.'

'These situations today are our biggest challenge,' he said.

'But let me tell you that, in general, our political team is the political team that ensured the victory of the nonviolent, Velvet Revolution in the republic of Armenia.

'This political team...continues to lead the people and enjoys the people's trust. And that political team has enough skills to govern the country.'

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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