Democratic Shortcomings Due to Lack of Confidence, Says Oskanian

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian Tuesday explained during an interview on Kentron TV that the shortcomings of Armenian democracy stem from the peoples’ lack of confidence in state institutions.
"In terms of democracy, we have done great work, however, we still have a long way to go," Oskanian said.
If there was adequate confidence in Armenia’s Central Electoral Commission, the events following the February 19 elections might not have happened, he said, adding that Armenia’s government should therefore work to rebuild this confidence.
According to Oskanian, this problem is part of Armenia’s Soviet Legacy. The lack of confidence in state structures, he said, has actually deteriorated since independence.
European programs in Armenia’should therefore concentrate on improving this condition by helping Armenia achieve press freedom and higher levels of education, he added.
The current predicament in Armenia can be traced to the problems of Armenia’s press, he explained. Both the government and opposition backed press were irresponsible and biased in their reporting and this has led to a lack of confidence and trust among people, he added.
One should not equate independence of press with objectivity, Oskanian noted. An independent press is not always objective, he said.
"You may be independent of the state, but dependent on somebody, who pays your bills," he said. "You can also be dependent and still maintain objectivity."
Oskanian said he agreed with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s three points for finding a way out of the current situation. Following the February 19 elections, the ARF proposed that fundamental reforms in the press, media, and electoral system would be the only way for Armenia to avert a crisis and continue along its path of democratic development.

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