Andranik Margarian’s record

Andranik Margarian’s record
by Haroutiun Khachatrian

NT Highlights #19 (521)
17 May, 2004

Recently world leading media announced that Silvio Berlusconi, the
Prime Minister of Italy, was registered in the Guinness Book of Records
as the head of the most long-living government in his country since
WW II. The length of the government’s life is really sensational,
no less than three years!!! Not one of fifty governments of this
country was able to survive that long. But almost the same is true
for the current Prime Minister of Armenia, Andranik Margaian. He marks
the fourth anniversary in office (the previous record was 3.5 years)
and his government too, is the most long-lived among ten cabinets of
the post- Soviet Armenia.

I don’t think that this is a case to discuss the question on how
does the selection of issues worth mentioning in Guinness Book of
Records take place. Maybe, the factor of Italy’s proximity to London
matters (otherwise, Arthur Rasi-Zadeh, who occupies the office of
the Prime Minister of Azerbiajan since 1996, would be in that book
much earlier). However, Margarian’s record is worth mentioning.

First, it is the period of the most stable political development of
the country. This statement strange as it may look, is nevertheless,
correct. Despite the presidential and parliamentary elections of last
year, the policy of the Armenian leadership remains the same since
at least 2001. It is another question on how correct this policy is.

Second, Margarian’s cabinet is the first to demonstrate the viability
of the balance mechanism put in the Constitution. Whereas, the in the
first years of independence, the prime ministers were team members
of the President, after the elections of May 1999, the government
was formed by the majority of the Parliament, which did cooperate
with the President, but was not part of his team. Vazgen Sargsian was
the first Prime Minister of this type, but he was killed in less than
five months, on October 27, 1999. His brother, Aram, tended to compete
with the President, but failed. Margarian, who took the office in May
2000, preferred to cooperate with Kocharian. As a result, his party
(and his Government) have become one of the pillars of Kocharian,
and now, after the “controversial” elections of 2003, Kocharian needs
the support of Margarian’s party even more than vice versa.

Third, Margarian’s case has put the end to the discussions about
“technical” and “political” cabinets. Having no brilliant knowledge
on economy, Andranik Margarian could form a rather efficient economy
team. It not only could reach the best economy performance in Armenia’s
history and one of the best in CIS (with an average GDP real growth
of 10.5% a year). It also has been implementing a rather correct
development program, which includes not only efforts to increase the
living standards in the country, but also important infrastructure
reforms, such as introducing PIN-numbers, creating cumulative pension
systems, improving communications and many others.

Of course, Margarian, and his Republican Party share responsibility
for all negative aspects of current Armenia, from violations during
the elections to adoption of laws which create real perspective for
Armenia to become a “Police country”. Probably, they believe this
is an affordable price for years of stability and growth. Who knows,
maybe they are right.