Armenian official denies government to take drastic steps to easeten

Armenian official denies government to take drastic steps to ease tension

Aykakan Zhamanak, Yerevan
8 Jun 04

Text of Vaagn Ovakimyan’s report by Armenian newspaper Aykakan Zhamanak
on 8 June headlined “Only consistent political processes”

An interview with the head of the Armenian president’s administration,
Artashes Tumanyan.

Aykakan Zhamanak correspondent Mr Tumanyan, how do you assess today’s
domestic political situation in Armenia?

Artashes Tumanyan I do not want to analyse it deeply because time will
give the assessment. The situation in authorities-opposition relations
worries me most of all. But it is not the whole domestic political
situation. When speaking about the domestic political situation,
I do not understand only authorities-opposition relations. It is
a more complex layer: public mood is important, tendencies in the
public opinion. But these relations, which are at the surface, are
the matter of the biggest concern.

Correspondent About two weeks ago, Chairman of the National Assembly
Artur Bagdasaryan announced from the rostrum of the Council of Europe
that anti-democratic forces should go. Do you not worry that by means
of this kind of statement, he is trying to introduce himself to the
world as the next possible power?

Tumanyan I do not know. First, parliamentarians are freer to express
their views than representatives of the executive power. All of
us are aware of shortcomings, everybody can point at problems, but
parliamentarians feel themselves freer.

Now I do not want to give another deeper assessment. I can also say
that there is no fully-fledged democracy in Armenia. Democratic
processes are going through a transition period. Assessments may
differ. Of course, there are often manifestations of authoritarianism,
they can also be explained. It is no secret that Armenia is not a
fully-fledged democratic country.

Correspondent How realistic are the rumours that the parliament will
be dissolved and a new government will be formed by the autumn?

Tumanyan I am not aware of a decision made at the top power level which
may lead to dissolving the parliament or replacing the prime minister.

Correspondent Do you not think that if the parliament is dissolved,
the current domestic political tension could be relieved and society
could achieve the expected changes?

Tumanyan I cannot say if we need such drastic changes. Even if
the president of the republic and the ruling political forces
think that they should be radical in their constructive work and
non-personnel-related policy, and even if they are strong enough
to do so, they would not resort to such drastic steps. I do not
think that such radical measures will be planned or implemented this
year. As far as I know, the political leadership of the republic is
more inclined to pursue consistent political processes over the next
years. Efforts are being made in this direction. Time will show what
will really take place.