President Serzh Sarkisian admitted failing to deliver on some of his 2008 pre-election promises on Tuesday as he met voters in Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province on his first reelection campaign trip.
Addressing hundreds of people in the regional town of Sisian, Sarkisian attributed that to his desire to effect sweeping socioeconomic and other changes in the country within a short period.
“No president of the republic, no leader of a serious political force has the right to set the bar low,” he said. “The bar must always be set high so that we can try to make the most of our opportunities.”
Sarkisian insisted that he fulfilled his main 2008 campaign pledge throughout his five-year presidency. “I haven’t been a slacker and have worked hard and tried to solve important problems facing the country,” he said.
Opposition politicians attacking Sarkisian’s track record in power single out a deep recession that hit Armenia in 2009, increasing poverty and deepening other socioeconomic problems. The official poverty rate rose from 24 percent in 2008 to 36 percent in 2010.
Sarkisian and his government argue that the downturn was caused by a global financial crisis. The Armenian economy began slowly recovering from the crisis in 2010 and expanded by 7 percent in 2012, according to official statistics. The government says that it is now less vulnerable to external shocks.