Sarkisian Promises ‘Radical Changes’ In Armenia

President Serzh Sarkisian speaks during the "Nation-Army 2017" conference on April 20, 2017 in Yerevan (Photo: Press Office of the President of Armenia)
President Serzh Sarkisian speaks during the "Nation-Army 2017" conference on April 20, 2017 in Yerevan (Photo: Press Office of the President of Armenia)

President Serzh Sarkisian speaks during the “Nation-Army 2017″ conference on April 20, 2017 in Yerevan (Photo: Press Office of the President of Armenia)

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenia will undergo sweeping reforms that will improve the lives of its people in the coming years, President Serzh Sarkisian said at the “Nation-Army 2017” forum on Thursday.

“The next few years will be decisive along that path,” he said, addressing a conference organized by the Armenian ministries of defense and education.

“The changes will be radical and they will be substantial and tangible for every citizen of the Republic of Armenia,” he added.

Sarkisian gave similar promises late last year. His latest reform pledge comes one year before the end of his second and final presidential term. The president indicated last month that he does not plan to leave the political arena in April 2018.

Immediately after the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) won parliamentary elections held on April 2, Prime Minister Karen Karapetian declared that his government has received a popular “mandate for change.” “I promise that we will spare no effort to create a NEW ARMENIA so that every citizen of our country feels better than they did before,” he said in a statement.

Karapetian unveiled an ambitious reform agenda shortly after being appointed as prime minister in September. Opposition leaders dismissed it as a publicity stunt aimed at facilitating the HHK’s election victory.

Sarkisian already promised “a new beginning for changes” when he took office nine years ago. Critics say that he has failed to deliver on that. They point to official statistics indicating that poverty in Armenia is still higher than it was before a severe recession in 2009 resulting from a global financial crisis.

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