Decentralization Urged in Local Government

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"Institutions of local government must be established and the role of the state and the president is great in this matter," said President Robert Kocharian in a meeting with the mayors of more than twenty cities and towns Tuesday.

Stressing the importance of decentralizing power–he said that there are a number of problems regarding the everyday life of the people that can be more effectively solved.

The president stated that along with the development of communities–some powers of ministries and regional administrations should be transferred to institutions of local government. The matter mainly concerns schools–kindergartens and hospitals–he said. "The country will have neither stability nor prospects for the future without decentralized power," stressed Kocharian.

According to the president–financing will be continued according to former systems in which the government and communities will be responsible for all other issues. The program is scheduled to be completed by 1999 when local elections will be held.

The mayors mainly expressed their willingness to begin the process. According to Kocharian–if the program is launched now–assessmen’s could be made in as early as four months.

During the meeting the sides exchanged views regarding the improvement of the work of institutions of local government and the formation of local budgets. It was announced that similar meetings will be held on a regular basis.

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