Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian acknowledged widespread popular distrust in Armenia’s government and pledged to address it during a visit to the northwestern Shirak province on Wednesday.
“The distrust that exists today between the authorities and the population must be eliminated,” Abrahamian said at a meeting with students and the faculty of a state university in the provincial capital Gyumri.
“We have been to many places where people had visited, given promises but not made good on them,” he added. “There seems to be a lack of faith and trust. We are going to overcome it.”
Abrahamian, who was appointed as prime minister in April following the unexpected resignation of his predecessor Tigran Sarkisian, did not specify what he and his government will do to address the problem.
President Serzh Sarkisian made similar assurances to disgruntled Armenians when he came to power in April 2008 following a troubled presidential election. “Even if a wall of misunderstanding stands between us, I urge you to join us in eliminating that wall,” Sarkisian declared in his inauguration speech.
Abrahamian made the comments as he answered questions about lingering socioeconomic problems facing Armenia and Shirak, one of its most economically depressed regions, in particular. Earlier in the day he toured several villages near Gyumri where a powerful hailstorm destroyed crops earlier this week. He assured villagers that the government will look into ways of compensating them.
Visiting the nearby town of Akhurian, the premier discussed with local officials and ordinary people the protracted reconstruction of homes destroyed by a catastrophic earthquake in 1988. Thousands of Shirak residents still lack adequate housing, awaiting new homes to be built with government funding.