Armen Martirosyan: Second President’s Criticism At The Prime Ministe

ARMEN MARTIROSYAN: SECOND PRESIDENT’S CRITICISM AT THE PRIME MINISTER – “BEHIND-THE-SCENES STRUGGLE” INSIDE THE POWER

ArmInfo’s interview with Armen Martirosyan, Deputy Head of Heritage Party

by Ashot Safaryan

Tuesday, January 14, 12:24

Mr. Martirosyan, would you comment on the processes inside your party.

The reshuffles inside the parliamentary faction of your party are
mostly taken as a split. Mass media reports on these processes show
the public attention to your party and expectations from it.

We have always been active and will keep acting consistently also in
2014. I think it would be wrong speaking of any split in the party as
our actions are based on the idea of a united and consolidated fight.

Furthermore, we have always supported the initiatives of oter
political forces, civil movements, including the movement of the
Artsakh War veterans for liquidation of the crisis situation in
Armenia. I hope the efforts of the veterans will not be useless
and in February the opposition forces will launch a political fight
together with them. Heritage Party jointly with three parliamentary
parties Prosperous Armenia, ARFD and Armenian National Congress fought
against mandatory accumulative pension system and ratification of gas
agreements with Russia in the passed year. Interaction of these four
political forces, their political will and consistent actions along
with other factors may turn into en effective instrument of changing
the power in the country. We are well aware that without a shift in
power, it is impossible to change the government system. Long-term
solution to problems and liquidation of the challenges the country
has faced implies shift in power, first of all.

Then, what made Tevan Poghosyan to waive his deputy mandate?

We met Tevan Pogosyan to discuss his decision. We positively assessed
his activity within the parliamentary faction. For his part, he assured
us that his decision to waive the mandate is not linked to the work of
the faction. For this reason, we called on him to revise his decision
and go on working as a member of the parliament. The rumors about
disagreements within Heritage are conditioned by several reasons,
first of all, there is a certain interest to the activity of the
party. Secondly, this entire scrape is of an artificial nature.

The point is that the challenges Armenia has faced are conditioned not
so much by the processes within the opposition, as by the policy of
the authorities, unfair distribution of incomes, corruption and other
circumstances. And now to draw the attention of our citizens away from
such problems, the authorities with help of their propaganda machine
wipe up such myths and intrigues around the opposition parties. I
agree that the decision of a member of the parliament to withdraw
from a mandate should be covered by the press. But on the other hand,
it is obvious that this problem is not among the most acute ones in
Armenia today. There are more relevant problems linked with development
of the country and raising of effectiveness of the management system.

Second president Robert Kocharyan has been recently sharply criticizing
these actions of the authorities. What do you think of such “remote
discussion” given that many government positions are still occupied
by the second president’s minions?

No one leaves the political arena after stepping down as president.

This also concerns the second president of Armenia. The levers he had
during his presidency secure his impact on the political processes
even after his presidency. This is especially relevant for Armenia,
where the system has not changed even despite the change of the
presidents and the opposition has never come to power via free and
fair elections. Today Kocharyan has damaging information about a lot
of people who are still at power and in business. Given these factors,
his impact is certainly immense.

In the meantime, I rule out any possible conflict between Robert
Kocharyan and the incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan. I think that
either of them has his own team, and these teams may have discrepancies
related to distribution of resources, since the resources are getting
fewer and fewer. Amid almost 70% poverty in the country and large-scale
migration, the fight for power will only be intensifying. And the
“conflict” between Kocharyan and the Prime Minister should be
considered in this context. It completely fits in the context of
“behind-the-scenes showdowns” inside the power.

Otherwise, Kocharyan would have criticized the President, first
of all, not the Prime Minister. The Head of the Government is not a
representative of a certain political team, he has not been conducting
his own policy, he was appointed by Serzh Sargsyan. And when Kocharyan
chooses the Prime Minister as a target, it becomes clear that there
can be no real conflict between the two presidents.

Depletion of resources and the countrywide anti-governmental public
protests against have not shattered the authorities yet. Don’t you
think that the parliamentary opposition is insufficiently consistent
in its actions and initiatives?

The Armenian authorities’ positions remain strong, first of all,
because the fight against them is pinpoint, not large-scale. Most
of the citizens are still reluctant to take part in this fight. The
citizens fail to come to Liberty Square to express their protest
and prefer expressing their support via social networks only. This
passivity is the key reason of failures in the fight against the
authorities’ actions. Physical presence is needed to gain results.

The fight against the authorities is being conducted discretely. Look
at four parliamentary factions: Heritage, Prosperous Armenia, ARF
Dashnaktsutyun, and Armenian National Congress. Somewhere they join
efforts, for instance, to prevent introduction of the compulsory
accumulative pension system or ratification of the gas agreements
with Russia. But in other affairs they display different stances very
often. However, one thing is clear. Change of power should become
the priority task. The oppositionist is convinced that if all the
four forces realize this necessity, if they understand that long-
term reforms are possible in case of change of power only, they must
conduct a joint fight. In this case, the public will also get involved
in the fight by all means.

Will Prosperous Armenia Party that was once part of the authorities
fight against them now?

Many representatives of Prosperous Armenia say that it can’t go on
this way and it is only the change of power that can improve the
socio-economic situation. But the question whether these statements
will become the official stance of that party and its leader is still
hanging in the air. The same concerns ARFD. Both of these forces were
at the helm of state in their day.

Thank you

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