Report Card After One Year?

The following nationwide poll in Armenia conducted by  the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research might be considered a yearly Report Card on the work done by the current administration of Armenia that came to power after the parliamentary elections of Dec. 9. 2018.

The “Data was collected throughout Armenia between September 20 and October 13, 2019 through face-to-face interviews in respondents’ homes. The sample consisted of 1,200 permanent residents of Armenia aged 18 or older and eligible to vote”.

Here are in part few highlights

— “According to (IRI), 91% of the respondents have a positive attitude towards the Army, whereas 8% – negative, 1% gave no answer”.

 — “Poll results indicate that Armenians have a positive view of the future, with 70 percent feeling optimistic about the future of the country, and 62 percent saying that the country is going in the right direction”.

–“Satisfaction with the government remains strong, with approval for the work of the Prime Minister’s office and the National Assembly at 76 percent and 63 percent, respectively”

–“The Armenian populace also shows a strong interest in judicial reform and the implementation of transitional justice. Eighty-two percent think that judicial reform should be an important priority, and 60 percent want to see the creation of a transitional justice system to address everything from corruption and illicit enrichment to human rights violations and electoral fraud under the previous regime”.

–“However, citizens also wish to see further action on socioeconomic concerns and transitional justice”

Here are also few recent news headlines that might be considered as positive outlook for 2020 economic growth.

–Armenia named among the world’s safest countries on Gallup international’s 2019 report.

–IMF predicts faster economic growth in Armenia.

–World Bank: GDP growth in Armenia remains strong

It is also important to note that the wages and the salaries of the army personnel, teachers, energy workers, etc. were increased by 10% to 27%  percent. As of January 2020 the pension will increase by 10%. and the minimum wage by 23%.

I ended my previous Monologue about the current administration just over one year ago (Dec. 15. 2018)  titled “Dawn of a New Era” with the following paragraph.

Are they up to the challenge? I think so. There is no turning back.  I am optimistic that they will be able to better govern the country and help keep the people’s hopes and aspirations alive for a long time to come, even way beyond the 5 year term of this parliament, and thus, turn this Velvet Revolution, the corner stone, the role model, for the future generations to live up to”.

If the above poles, head lines, wage and pension increases, are of any indication, they have done very well, and it is just the start. They have four more years till the next parliamentary elections.

One of the many challenges to reform the institutionalized corruption of the previous administrations that they inherited from, is how to reform the overstaffed civil service loaded with cronies of the previous corrupt leadership. (In Armenia they call this cronyism, ԽԾԲ “Խնամի Ծանօթ Բարեկամ”). Needless to say this will require major layoffs which means increased unemployment as well. A tough challenge that requires a long and carefully planed process to minimize the social impact on the citizens of Armenia.

May be Nikol Pashinyan is right when he writes  in a poetic way “բայց ով՞ կարող է պնդել, որ կարճ ճանապարհը ճիշտ ճանապարհն է, ով՞ կարող է պնդել”:  loosely translated “but who can state, that the short road is the right road?, who can state?.  (This is a quote from Prime Minster Nikol Pashinyan’s best seller novel “Երկրի Հակարակ Կողմը” “Country from Opposite Side” page 25). It was published in 2018.

(The novel was written in 2008 between May and December when Nikol Pashinyan was in hiding. Police had issued an arrest warrant for his role during a public demonstration against the falsified presidential elections that made it possible for the corrupt Serj Sargsyan administration to succeed the equally corrupt Robert Kocharyan administration).

Unfortunately the demonstration ended  with the tragic killings of ten people, Armenian citizens, by the Armenian army/security forces on March 1 2008. (The novel is dedicated to the memory of the ten victims).

This national tragedy not only never got investigated during the 10 year corrupt administration of Serj Sargsyan, but it was shocking to hear him arrogantly say “Դուք դասեր չեք քաղել Մարտի մէկից” (Loosely translated “You didn’t learned your lessons from March first”). Unbelievable, but true. Needless to say, this is nothing short of not only condoning the crime, but also accepting his role as one of the perpetrator of the crime as well. (The meeting between Nikol Pashinyan and Serj Sargsyan was televised live on April 22 2018).

Thankfully the current Armenian government headed by Prime Minster Nikol Pashinyan has already started the investigation process to find and punish the culprits who ordered and executed this unprecedented and shameful crime. The sooner the better. It is long overdue.

Zohrab Bebo Sarkissian

Below find the pole results from which some of the above quotes were taken.

13:42, 11 December, 2019

YEREVAN, DECEMBER 11, ARMENPRESS. A new nationwide poll of Armenia by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research shows strong support for the government’s anti-corruption efforts and an optimistic view of the country’s trajectory, Armenpress reports citing IRI.

“Recent charges against former high-level Armenian officials highlights how serious the problem of corruption was under the previous regime,” said Stephen Nix, IRI Regional Director for Eurasia. “It is encouraging to see that the data reflects a positive view of the new government’s anti-corruption efforts.” 

However, citizens also wish to see further action on socioeconomic concerns and transitional justice. Additionally, 66 percent think that the government is doing enough to fight corruption (up from 59 percent), and 70 percent think that the fight has been effective.

“Recent charges against former high-level Armenian officials highlights Poll results indicate that Armenians have a positive view of the future, with 70 percent feeling optimistic about the future of the country, and 62 percent saying that the country is going in the right direction. Satisfaction with the government remains strong, with approval for the work of the Prime Minister’s office and the National Assembly at 76 percent and 63 percent, respectively.

Despite the general positivity, some concerning trends are beginning to emerge. The proportion of respondents citing job creation (38 percent, up from 30 percent) and socio-economic issues (29 percent, up from 18 percent) as key priorities continues to increase, as does the proportion of people citing poor management as the top governmental failure (up five points, to 27 percent). Nix stated that, “even though the government has delivered well on anti-corruption reforms, we see signs that the population is concerned over progress in the socio-economic field.”

The Armenian populace also shows a strong interest in judicial reform and the implementation of transitional justice. Eighty-two percent think that judicial reform should be an important priority, and 60 percent want to see the creation of a transitional justice system to address everything from corruption and illicit enrichment to human rights violations and electoral fraud under the previous regime.

Of additional note for a historically patriarchal society, 96 percent of Armenians think that all forms of violence against women ought to be punishable by law, and 90 percent believe that the state should abolish laws and practices that discriminate against women.

Methodology 

The survey was conducted on behalf of IRI by Dr. Rasa Alisauskiene of the Baltic Surveys/The Gallup Organization, with the fieldwork carried out by the Armenian Sociological Association. Data was collected throughout Armenia between September 20 and October 13, 2019 through face-to-face interviews in respondents’ homes. The sample consisted of 1,200 permanent residents of Armenia aged 18 or older and eligible to vote. It is representative of the general population by age, gender and region. The margin of error does not exceed plus or minus three percent for the full sample, and the response rate was 66 percent. This survey was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

14:25, 11 December, 2019

YEREVAN, DECEMBER 11, ARMENPRESS. Majority of the population of Armenia positively assesses the work of the Army.

According to the results of the recent nationwide poll of Armenia conducted by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research, 91% of the respondents have a positive attitude towards the Army, whereas 8% – negative, 1% gave no answer.

The work of the Army is followed by that of the President’s Office (82% assess it as favorable, 15% – unfavorable, 3% gave no answer) and the Office of the Prime Minister (76% – favorable, 22% – unfavorable).

The opinion of the 74% of the respondents on the work of the Armenian Apostolic Church is favorable, while 21% assessed it as unfavorable, 5% gave no answer.

63% of the survey participants assessed the work of the Parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers as favorable.

Most of the respondents (52%) assessed the works of political parties as unfavorable, while 42% assessed it as favorable.

 

 

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