They make various promises but almost all the programs have a common approach towards the problems. There are nearly no differentiated approaches to solving regional problems.
With the purpose to understand the program approaches of the political forces related to the solution of regional problems, Media Center hold a discussion at Asparez Journalists Club in Gyumri on March 13 entitled “What Changes do the Political Forces Propose in Shirak Region?”
The speakers of the discussion were Vardevan Grigoryan, Tsarukyan Alliance candidate, Ashot Kurghinyan, Armenian Revolutionary Party candidate, Sofya Hovsepyan, “Yelq” Alliance candidate, Hovhannes Asoyan, “Oskanyan-Raffi-Ohanyan” Alliance candidate, Arthur Poghosyan, “Free Democrates” Party candidate, and Janna Jamkochyan, “Armenian National Congress” candidate.
Shirak region is the densest expression of the mosaic of Armenia's socio-economic and legal issues. The region has not yet overcome the consequences of the 1988 earthquake, thousands of families are living in temporary shelters, and the ruins of buildings can be seen everywhere in Gyumri, the administrative center of the region. The wound occurred by the earthquake 29 years ago is still "bleeding." The migration and poverty rate caused by socio-economic issues is one of the highest ones in Armenia.
At the same time, the representatives of the political forces are convinced that the regional problems should be viewed in the general panorama of Armenia as it would be wrong to separate them.
“We consider that it is impossible to separate Shirak region with its problems and propose separate programs. The problems of this region will be solved when the Armenian economy, industry and agriculture are developed in the context of which Shirak region can be separated to focus on its problems. We do not have a separate program for Shirak region as such,” Hovhannes Asoyan said.
The approach of “Free Democrats” is also general. “First, we need to bring Armeian out of this hard economic situation. We are in a case when no problem will be solved efficiently without radical changes. We are in a closed chain with poverty and corruption. All the provisions of our program address all the regions of Armenia, including Shirak,” Arthur Poghosyan said.
Sofya Hovsepyan mentioned that the unemployment and migration rates are the highest in Shirak. “All these issues are included in our program. All the problems of Shirak region are included in the program of “Yelq” Alliance. In the case we are elected, we will bring investments in Shirak region and RA regions in general. Suitable conditions should be created here for the implementation of the funding, for example, tax incentives and new opportunities in logistics,” Hovsepyan said.
The Armenian Revolutionary Party has no concrete program for Shirak region. They have 3 priorities. “First we want to provide a developing Armenia, second is Artsakh which should be at the core of our attention and naturally the foreign policy,” Arthur Kyureghyan said and added that people are not interested in the party programs as people especially in the regions are led by other stimula. “People announce that they will vote for those who give money. This is just horrible,” he said.
The program of Tsarukyan Alliance involving 15 provisions proposes economic growth in all over the state. It has become a target of much criticism. Some politicians and experts consider them populist and unrealistic. Vardevan Grigoryan said that there are 15 priorities that the party has developed and presented to the public. “We propose to increase the pension by 25 thousand AMD, to increase wages by the same sum, and other economic items,” he said.
Janna Jamkochyan said that there could be no hope of anything in a state at war. “We have a complicated Karabakh conflict. We should refer to this issue seriously, as we have many victims, economic decline, and there can be no hope in a state at war. We propose a Peace Plan, that is a resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict after which Armenian economy can prosper,” she said.
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Arshaluys Mghdesyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”
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