ArmeniaNow.com - Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 February 14, 2003 




Decision 2003: Voter questions, candidate answers

Candidates for the Presidency were asked to give brief answers to five questions reflecting the major concerns of voters. Following are their responses.


Q. What would you offer to lessen the economic contradiction between the small group of rich people and the majority of poor people?
A. As to the experience of developed countries small and medium businesses are the economic basis and welfare of the society. That is why to reduce economic contradiction of the wealthy minority and poor majority one has to assist to formation of the middle class out of the poor layers of the society by creating efficient and productive legal framework and comprehensively supporting small and medium businesses.

Q. What would you do to attract investors and create jobs?
A. It is necessary to reach guaranteed stability of political and public life through stability of the legislation, to put into practice stable taxation field, exclude frequent legislation changes and to protect investors from the corrupted elements, and this way it will be possible to restore both foreign and local investors' trust to the government. And creation of the workplaces is derivative of the above mentioned and the capital, which goes to places protected by the Law.

Q. What steps would you undertake to make the educational level correspond to the international standards and make education affordable for all strata of the society?
A. In all the segments of the Educational System of the RA significant works were implemented in the indicated direction, however, they are proceeding in non systematic ways. First of all educational legislation of the RA has to be improved and brought to conformity with the international legal framework, and then it is possible to continue state policy of improvement in accordance with that. Talking about availability of education for the different layers of the society, it must be said that development of the industrial complex must be tidily connected to the development of the education. Industry has to become a customer ordering professionals and pay for it. The tuition fee has to be calculated on the basis of education cost price and economic conditions of the population.

Q. What would you do toward making the judicial system independent and for excluding bribery in the system and for making all laws function equally for everyone?
A. Reforms of the judicial systems haven't given desirable results yet, because institutions of that field are in a net of corrupt relations. To achieve the point, where the above mentioned will be excluded and the first part of the Article 94 of the Constitution will get real importance, at least judges must be elected and not appointed by the President, who represents guarantor of independence of juridical bodies.

Q. If elected, how would you avoid becoming influenced by those who assisted you in the process of coming to power and how would you fight corruption?
A. Party of intelligentsia 'United Armenians' proposed me as candidate, so that we implement our main project - create just social-legal state, where the law will predominate and a right manpower policy will be implemented based on high professionalism.

Concerning financial support, we think it's worth mentioning that my campaign is financed with savings of the family budget and membership fees collected by 'United Armenians' Party.

Concerning corruption, first, we should define the term 'corruption', which is abuse of an official post by both political elite - high-rankers, and low-rank officials who communicate to people. We should struggle against that in the following ways:

  • Constitutional changes - clear differentiation of functions of legislative, executive and legal bodies, reforms in the judicial system, strengthening of legitimacy.

  • Conviction and legal pursuit of bribery during election campaigns.

  • Implementation of an appropriate manpower policy based on high professionalism

  • True implementation of the Criminal Codex, etc.

Q. What would you offer to lessen the economic contradiction between the small group of rich people and the majority of poor people?
A. The process has to support formation of the middle class in particular, but not enrichment of an in gathering. To implement a complex program on creation of workplaces and to establish guaranties for social protection. To give taxation benefits to the businessmen employing those capable of working, but on a pension, thus reducing dramatic polarization of the society and social burden of the State.

Q. What would you do to attract investors and create jobs?
A. Before attracting investment from outside it is important to think of creating favorable conditions for investments from inside and to promote development of small and medium businesses. It is necessary to form appropriate legal framework. Programs of investors, which corresponding to economic priorities of the country and establishing more workplaces will be supported first. To assure equality of the legal opportunities of the enterprises, investments should be encouraged through flexible taxation policy.

Q. What steps would you undertake to make the educational level correspond to the international standards and make education affordable for all strata of the society?
A. Increase of state-funding, establishment of the appropriate foundations through it and making education available for socially vulnerable layers of the society. Tax benefits for the businessmen investing to educational programs. Gradual reformation of the education system aimed to meet modern requirements of, cooperation with leading educational and scientific centers abroad, and upbringing based on the national traditions. It is necessary to establish legal framework and guarantee equality of legal opportunities.

Q. What would you do toward making the judicial system independent and for excluding bribery in the system and for making all laws function equally for everyone?
A. To change the order of appointing judges in order to cease any dependency on legislative authorities and ensure publicity of the judges' appointment. To transform Council of Jurisdiction (Justice) into real referee for the judges. Only judges, attorneys and scientists-lawyers must be included in the council.


Q. If elected, how would you avoid becoming influenced by those who assisted you in the process of coming to power and how would you fight corruption?
A. Forces that support me don't need fronting. Generally speaking we are fighting against this phenomenon.

Q. What would you offer to lessen the economic contradiction between the small group of rich people and the majority of poor people?
A. The answers are summed up in "Overcoming general crisis in the Republic of Armenia" and "Let's revive out homeland together on February 19" election programs.

Q. What would you do to attract investors and create jobs?
A. To establish such a tax legislation which will support investments, will create tax benefits, and will set a guaranty of stability for major investments ensuring at the same time priority for local investors (third point of the program).

Q. What steps would you undertake to make the educational level correspond to the international standards and make education affordable for all strata of the society?
A. Besides points set in the program I wouldn't let owners of the saunas-brothels to hold positions of Education Minister of my country or head of my election campaign.

Q. What would you do toward making the judicial system independent and for excluding bribery in the system and for making all laws function equally for everyone?
A. We will start arraigning juridical system by implementing strict structural policy.

Q. If elected, how would you avoid becoming influenced by those who assisted you in the process of coming to power and how would you fight corruption?
A. All forces supporting us are like-minded ones, who suffered mainly because of corruption, and they have no obstacles to fight this phenomenon.

Q. What would you offer to lessen the economic contradiction between the small group of rich people and the majority of poor people?
A. The solution of the mentioned problem includes economic and social elements and for that reason it is connected with coordination between economic and social policies. I'm deeply sure that it is necessary to carry out such a systematized policy, of which the main goal will be the increase of people's level of prosperity. The realization of that main goal will require optimal coordination of numerous social programs, which in its turn will resolve numerous social problems of our country.

Q. What would you do to attract investors and create jobs?
A. For solving this problem it's necessary to create attractive investment field. Moreover, concessionary terms can be created for foreign investors and Diaspora businessmen. Here there is a necessity of stimulating Western funds, which clashes with the problem of conforming to the market, which has just been developing in Armenia. For that reason the legal field must be improved including favorable tax mechanism as well.

Q. What steps would you undertake to make the educational level correspond to the international standards and make education affordable for all strata of the society?
A. That question concerns improvements of our educational system. In my pre-election program the problem of education's availability has an important significance. We have intellectual and scientific potential, which can be effectively used only in conditions of creating the cooperation between the government, educational institutions and pupils and execution of that in practice.

Q. What would you do toward making the judicial system independent and for excluding bribery in the system and for making all laws function equally for everyone?
A. The task of perfection of the judicial system is one of the most important elements in the sphere of state-judicial improvements. In case of becoming President I will be striving for creation of such a system, where judicial power, as one of the state power branches, will be obeying the dominance of the law.

Q. If elected, how would you avoid becoming influenced by those who assisted you in the process of coming to power and how would you fight corruption?
A. First of all my associates and confederates are supporting me. They share ideas of the strategic program of "National Unity" with me. Pre-election staffs are Armenian hearths for us. Thus, Armenian hearth is symbol of unity for me and not the support. If I become President I will be carrying out paragraphs of my pre-election program including creating and strengthening the anticorruption regulatory structure directed against bribery.

Q. What would you offer to lessen the economic contradiction between the small group of rich people and the majority of poor people?
A. I will create new workplaces based on the industry development; I will complement state budget by reducing shadow economy. There are many other steps presented in my program with all details.

Q. What would you do to attract investors and create jobs?
A. I will terminate clanship in the country and bribery widespread in state structures.

Q. What steps would you undertake to make the educational level correspond to the international standards and make education affordable for all strata of the society?
A. I think it is necessary to adopt positive experience of the former Soviet education system, and of course to update it.

Q. What would you do toward making the judicial system independent and for excluding bribery in the system and for making all laws function equally for everyone?
A. I devoted a whole page to ways of solving these problems in my program.

Q. If elected, how would you avoid becoming influenced by those who assisted you in the process of coming to power and how would you fight corruption?
A. Forces and people supporting me do not expect the same from me, and of course I don't have such obligations to them.

Q. What would you offer to lessen the economic contradiction between the small group of rich people and the majority of poor people?
A. The only way is economic policy providing stable growth and creating new jobs, which we've already proceeded to. More purposeful and addressed mechanisms of social allocations are being shaped, programs on people's employment are developed. The important goal is development of small and medium business and formation of middle class.

Q. What would you do to attract investors and create jobs?
A. The important conditions of attracting investors are political stability of the country, favorable constitutional environment, protection of business and presence of independent judicial system. The important step towards attracting investors was Armenia's membership in the World Trade Organization, which opens the way to new and predictable markets for businessmen.

Q. What steps would you undertake to make the educational level correspond to the international standards and make education affordable for all strata of the society?
A. Primary tasks are raising the standards of self-dependence of school's administration, introduction of modern educational projects and technologies and logistics support of schools. The necessary step of the government is an increase of the means for the educational provision, establishment of knowledge standards, raising teachers' prestige and improvement of social conditions. Also the important task is construction and renovation of buildings for schools, improvement of conditions with provision of furniture.

Q. What would you do toward making the judicial system independent and for excluding bribery in the system and for making all laws function equally for everyone?
A. Huge constitutional changes have been done for making the judicial system independent. A judicial system independent of other branches has been created. One of the main principles necessary for full independence is increasing the level of social protection of the system. The improvements will continue to be done in security bodies, police and prosecutor's offices. New package of constitutional improvements will take justice to the new level.

Q. If elected, how would you avoid becoming influenced by those who assisted you in the process of coming to power and how would you fight corruption?
A. It is not the first time I'm going to become the President. The entire society spectrum is supporting me such as political parties, public, national and youth organizations, businessmen… whose support I shall become. The President is not President of some certain forces but the President of country. A strategic program was developed for the purpose of making anticorruption actions systematical and transparent. Sufficient number of laws were adopted. We will continue to develop order of different types of activities' permissions for the purpose of prevention of corruption.

Q. What would you offer to lessen the economic contradiction between the small group of rich people and the majority of poor people?
A. My principle is not to impoverish rich people but to enrich poor ones. Some of rich people make use of illegal privileges - they don't pay taxes, enjoy authorities' patronage and get unprecedented super-profits. If we significantly decrease shadow economy then the budget will have possibility for implementing more social programs. Besides, jobs must be created and the economy must be revived.

Q. What would you do to attract investors and create jobs?
A. The improvements in legislative field must be done for attracting investors, the legality, order and regulations must be established in the country. And, of course, the integration of the entire region is important, which will solve problems of communications, security and increase of the market. I'm also strongly emphasizing creation of small businesses and giving preferential credits.

Q. What steps would you undertake to make the educational level correspond to the international standards and make education affordable for all strata of the society?
A. There are subjects in our educational system which identically correspond to the international standards. But for new subjects (management, financial administration and others) the government must render some certain assistance.

Social justice must be supported in the educational field. Special educational foundations must be created, which will let receptive children get quality education independent from their social position and financial abilities.

Q. What would you do toward making the judicial system independent and for excluding bribery in the system and for making all laws function equally for everyone?
A. In this case the conduct of the country's President and administration is of very important significance. No matter how many times the law will be changed if equality in face of the law is not constantly obliged from the higher instances no judicial system will come about. At the same time independence of the judicial system must be strengthened by laws. But that independence doesn't exempt authorities from liability at all.

Q. If elected, how would you avoid becoming influenced by those who assisted you in the process of coming to power and how would you fight corruption?
A. Once I dealt with that problem in 1990, when we came to power. Those days there wasn't a Presidential institute in the country. I was Prime Minister and the entire executive power was concentrated in my hands and I hadn't been a shelter for anybody and probably that was the reason why I had sent in my resignation after working for a little bit more than a year. I think that the country has developed to the extent that it won't lead to the fact that I will send in my resignation again in one and a half years.

Q. What would you offer to lessen the economic contradiction between the small group of rich people and the majority of poor people?
A. First of all the origin of richness, ways of acquirements must be revealed and if they are illegal then the question concerning criminal responsibility must be raised.

The question on poor majority must never be solved by means of redistribution. It can be correctly resolved only as a result of the development of economy, agriculture and industry when middle class will develop and take a leading position in society.

Q. What would you do to attract investors and create jobs?
A. First of all the legislative field must be functioning. The investors must be protected by law. The trespasses towards them must be completely abolished and that principle must be recognized by legislation. The investments in industrial sector must be encouraged and not in services sector. The only correct way of creating working places is decided in the framework of effective solution of that problem and it directly deals with the process of industrial development.

Q. What steps would you undertake to make the educational level correspond to the international standards and make education affordable for all strata of the society?
A. Unconditionally joining the race of making the educational level correspond to the international standards we destroyed Soviet educational system, which had justified itself in numerous ways. That developed and tested system must be restored, making it qualitatively correspond to the international standards. Education and Science must become the most important of state priorities. For being affordable the education must mainly be free of charge without excluding modern and flexible types of administration in that field as well.

Q. What would you do toward making the judicial system independent and for excluding bribery in the system and for making all laws function equally for everyone?
A. Only professionals presented and guaranteed by public organizations, must be involved in the judicial system. The problem of their social security must be resolved, which will let them stay away from corruption. I strongly emphasize the question of their independent activities, which will be regulated by law.

Q. If elected, how would you avoid becoming influenced by those who assisted you in the process of coming to power and how would you fight corruption?
A. I feel completely protected from that danger. I never cooperated with forces, which were expecting posts or other privileges from me. And concerning those who help me in my work, then in most cases they are honest and competent people and their presence in state structure can only seriously assist the process of solution of any problem that our country can face in future.

The President of the republic must be guarantor of the fight against corruption and for bringing into life his mission he must: make political decisions for fighting against that evil; create healthy system, which will be implementing that decision; guarantee solution of social problems by solving the problem of developed economy; not to fight with slogans but with the entire system, providing equal responsibility of everybody in face of law starting from average citizen to the President and from the President to average citizen.

Q. What would you offer to lessen the economic contradiction between the small group of rich people and the majority of poor people?
A. The country has resources to at least triple the inflow part of the budget, at the expense of which salaries and pensions will adjust with the minimal basket for life maintenance. Thanks to the tax and anticorruption policy the shadow economy will be reduced to minimum.

Q. What would you do to attract investors and create jobs?
A. To establish joint ventures, ensure state guarantees, give temporary tax benefits.

Q. What steps would you undertake to make the educational level correspond to the international standards and make education affordable for all strata of the society?
A. To improve teachers' financial position significantly, increase their professional level by periodic trainings, impose modern technologies, in-depth study of languages, ensure computer literacy, strengthen material and technical basis of educational institutions.

Q. What would you do toward making the judicial system independent and for excluding bribery in the system and for making all laws function equally for everyone?
A. In accordance with the law, each worker of a judicial system will be dismissed from the system for delinquency.

Q. If elected, how would you avoid becoming influenced by those who assisted you in the process of coming to power and how would you fight corruption?
A. In a law-guided country there is no need for fronting (shelter for an illegal activity). The best way to struggle against corruption is differentiation between branches of power, guarantee of control by public institutes, incorruptibility of the country leader.


  Inside
 

Voter questions, candidate answers

Full story

 
 
 
 

Who will help the pensioners?

Full story

 
 
 
 

Who will stop the corruption?

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  Photo of the week
  Photo of the week: Tamper resistant?
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Tamper resistant?

Journalists flocked to Zvartnots Airport Tuesday to greet the arrival of plastic boxes, heralded by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe as Armenia's first step toward "transparent" elections. The 2,000 boxes - at a cost of about $4 each - were financed by the US, Swiss, German and Norwegian governments. Newspaperman Tigran Liloyan gave one ballot bucket a test run.

 

 





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