Armenia has overcome the 2008 post-election crisis and become a more democratic country during President Serzh Sarkisian’s rule, his Republican Party (HHK) insisted on Tuesday.
“In the last five years our democratic institutions have grown stronger,” HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am), rejecting opposition claims to the contrary.
“The authorities have carried out numerous serious reforms in the last five years,” Sharmazanov said. “They have declared two general amnesties, they have reformed the Electoral Code, they have enacted amendments on freedom of assembly.”
“They have eliminated the political crisis that arose after March 1 [2008,]” he said. “They have sat at the negotiating table with [the opposition Armenian National Congress.] They have returned Liberty Square to the people to make it a forum for political pluralism.”
Sarkisian made similar statements in his speech at the HHK’s weekend congress in Yerevan. His political opponents and the Armenian National Congress (HAK) in particular brushed aside those claims.
“Unlike those who claimed during their rule that everything is fine, we are not saying that everything is fine,” Sharmazanov said. “What we are saying is that there are many problems but one should have faith. And we are opting for change with faith.”
Sharmazanov also pointed to statements by U.S. and European officials acknowledging the Armenian government’s declared efforts to ease political tensions and hold more democratic elections.