PM resigns to be replaced by Karen Karapetyan
President Serzh Sargsyan has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan and therefore, in effect his whole Cabinet. The prime minister resigned yesterday at a Cabinet meeting.
The ruling Republican Party, which has 70 of the 131 seats in the National Assembly, has nominated a 53 year old technocrat, Karen Karapetyan, as the new prime minister.
The full text of the prime minister’s resignation speech as published on the government wesite is as follows:
Thursday, 8 September 2016
Remarks Delivered by Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan at Cabinet Sitting
While introducing to the National Assembly the program of my government in May, 2014, I placed a special emphasis on cooperation and the need to listen to public concerns. All the way through my political career, I have struggled against political barriers for bridges of cooperation.
My government has been open to dialogue based on sound ideas. We have been making great efforts to establish a dialogue with all sectors of society.
I have met with scientists, farm laborers, artists and traders, partners and opposition representatives, citizens suffered from land development activities in order to frankly talk about the existing bottlenecks and suggest realistic solutions to specific problems.
Our sincere and realistic approach proved effective, but society still remains polarized. In my opinion, the main reason is the discord fostered by geopolitical, external economic and military challenges. These challenges are still preventing us from addressing such key priorities as the provision of equal economic conditions and the fight against corruption.
Despite our 25-year-old independence, which was made possible through hard work and our soldiers’ unwavering courage, we still remain as a country with transition problems, where we need joint efforts to improve the current economic and social situation. And for this we need new approaches and a fresh start.
Therefore, I have decided to resign and enable the President to form a new government. We have to think about our common success and give the new government the chance to consolidate the society based on the work done and mediating new approaches.
Serious work has actually been carried out. I never addressed and will not speak about the situation at the time of my assuming the post of prime minister – this is not my work style – but I am going to talk with a clear conscience about my Cabinet’s joint achievements.
Significant momentum has been given to lifeline irrigation systems refurbishment activities. We have initiated and carried out work on construction of water reservoirs which is a government priority.
All of the four reservoirs on the list of government priorities have distinct sources of funding and are in various stages of implementation, from feasibility study up to construction.
We managed to revive and accelerate regional integration projects with Iran and Georgia, providing infrastructure projects with great export potential. Armenia’s membership of the Eurasian Economic Union allowed our businesses to reduce foreign trade-associated operational costs and mitigate regional economic shocks in 2015.
Extensive work has been done to reinstate those households’ rights, which had suffered from developers’ failure to comply with their commitments. As a result, the long-discussed Old Yerevan project become viable and will start soon.
The unprecedented decline in metal prices, the mining sector was largely reinvigorated with the government’s assistance; Amulsar ore deposit was commissioned providing several new jobs.
Armenia’s economy saw the largest ever U.S. investment, with USD180 million invested in the Vorotan Cascade to enable the refurbishment and reliable operations of the complex.
Effective since January 2015, the Law on State Support for Information Technologies led to the establishment of 125 start-up companies. What matters most is that they are increasingly growing in number and coverage.
Despite intensifying fiscal pressures, wages increased in the public sector as of 2014 at the rate of 40 billion drams annually. We were able to significantly improve the performance of externally financed major infrastructure projects. In 2015, overall performance rose by nearly AMD35 billion to reach the mark of 100 billion drams. As a result, we boasted a 25% increase in this field.
While we faced a strong external economic shock in 2015, Armenia’s economy recorded a 3 percent growth prevailing over the negative trends available in the region. In 2015, owing to the Government’s counter-cyclical policies, the negative shocks were completely absorbed and did not come over into 2016. As a result, even amid the persisting fall in prices in 2016, the index of economic activity recorded a 4.8% increase in January-June over the same period of the previous year.
We can state that despite the reduction in domestic consumption, economic growth in the last year and a half was fostered by foreign trade. This means we are moving from domestic consumption-driven economic growth toward production and export-led economic growth.
There were numerous speculations about the low level of economic activity index, but our opponents ignored two mighty blows on the economy, namely the April war and the capture of police regiment in July, 2016.
But time will put everything in its place; the increase expected in the coming months will show the unused potential of agriculture, the positive effect of seasonality in the energy sector, while the projected growth in 2017 will expose the solid background we have built up in the economy.
I would like to highlight the fight against corruption. It is multifaceted, multi-layered and should be consistently and comprehensively implemented with a fundamental approach to the problem.
In close cooperation with civil society, the Government has prepared a number of legislative initiatives aimed at combating corruption. In particular, we have already put into circulation draft laws criminalizing the illicit enrichment of senior officials and the income understatement by public servants. The bills envisage disclosure of real owners of companies participating in public procurement, as well as restrictions on cash transactions.
A draft law on incentives and protection of persons reporting corruption crimes is being developed. A new institutional framework to combat corruption – the idea of creating a separate anticorruption body – has been subjected to in-depth analysis.
We were going to suggest calling a special session of the National Assembly in October to implement the aforementioned comprehensive legislative package. To my mind, the package will be one of the best tools with which the new government can begin to unite our polarized society.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you all for cooperation and assure that as an active participant in political life, I will continue my mission aimed at overcoming the barriers existing in society.”