The main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) unveiled on Tuesday a detailed plan of actions which it said are necessary for a “radical transformation” of Armenia’s flawed economic system.
The 15-page program was developed by a team of economists led by former Prime Minister Hrant Bagratian. It lists 100 policy measures which the HAK believes would end the monopolization of key sectors of the Armenian economy, improve the country’s business environment and ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth among its citizens.
The opposition bloc led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian specifically wants to shift the main tax burden from small and medium-sized enterprises to a handful of government-linked “oligarchs” whom it accused of “strangling free enterprise” in the country. This would be done through the introduction of a progressive income tax scale as well as sharp increases in other taxes paid by the wealthiest Armenians.
The program also calls for a substantial toughening of Armenia’s anti-trust legislation and a strict separation of business and politics. It says these measures would put an end to “the extreme concentration of the country’s economic resources in the hands of a few oligarchs and their families.”
Armenia would also be able to quickly double the volume of its state budget, according to the program. It says that would in turn allow for sharp increases in pensions and public sector salaries as well as government spending on education and public services.
“These authorities cater for the oligarchy and are simply unable to implement this program,” the HAK’s central office coordinator, Levon Zurabian, said, presenting the program at a news conference. He said the bloc would itself take such measures if it succeeds in toppling the government.
Zurabian claimed that the HAK is getting ready for snap national elections in view of what he called continuing government “failures.” “If the failures continue at this pace, power will simply fall on our head, and we must be prepared for that,” he said.