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Don’t Be Afraid To Make Mistakes, Pashinian Tells Allies


Armenia -- Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian visits Khndzoresk village in Syunik province, September 12, 2020.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has urged his political team not to be afraid of making mistakes and unpopular decisions in implementing its ambitious reform agenda shaped by Armenia’s 2018 “Velvet Revolution.”

“The biggest threat to the revolutionary government, formed in an atmosphere of widespread sympathy and affection, is a drive to be ‘right,’” Pashinian said in lengthy Facebook post on Friday.

“A government that created the substance of the revolution must take only strategic steps without being afraid of mistakes and by sometimes consciously committing them in cases where expectations of right decisions do not allow it to move forward and ultimately to lead to paralysis and inability to make decisions,” he wrote.

“We must give up our penchant for being in the comfort zone of ‘popular love’ because we did not come to power to stay here. We came to power to form a new mental plane for our state and our people and to elevate Armenia to that plane … There is no greater mistake than marking time,” he added.

Pashinian said this was the main thrust of his address to leading members of his Civil Contract party and senior government officials delivered late on Thursday. He did not divulge other details of the meeting or specify unpopular government measures which he believes are necessary for the country.

Armenia - Supporters of Nikol Pashinian celebrate his election as prime minister of Armenia in Republic Square in Yerevan, 8 May 2018.
Armenia - Supporters of Nikol Pashinian celebrate his election as prime minister of Armenia in Republic Square in Yerevan, 8 May 2018.

The meeting came amid the ruling political team’s acrimonious disputes with the parliamentary opposition and a number of civic organizations that supported Pashinian until recently.

The latter accuse Pashinian of betraying the goals of the 2018 revolution that brought him to power. They are particularly upset with the choice of three new members of the Constitutional Court appointed by the Armenian parliament earlier this week.

The prime minister lambasted the Western-funded civic activists when he spoke in the National Assembly on Wednesday. He charged that they are primarily concerned with their own parochial interests, rather than the rule of law.

Armenia -- Celebrations in Yerevan after the election of Nikol Pashinian as prime minister, May 9, 2018.
Armenia -- Celebrations in Yerevan after the election of Nikol Pashinian as prime minister, May 9, 2018.

Pashinian is also facing growing opposition calls to sack Arayik Harutiunian, his education minister and longtime associate. Lawmakers representing Civil Contract stood by the embattled minister during a heated parliament debate this week.

The debate triggered a renewed war of words between the Pashinian administration and the opposition Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK). The premier joined Harutiunian in launching scathing personal attacks on BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian. Tsarukian responded in kind.

Pashinian stressed on Friday that he and his loyalists have repeatedly proved critics wrong since setting up Civil Contract in 2013. He noted, in particular, that his party was ridiculed by other opposition forces when it launched in March 2018 a campaign to scuttle then President Serzh Sarkisian’s plans to extend his decade-long rule.

“You all know what happened next,” Pashinian said, referring to subsequent nationwide protests that toppled Sarkisian.

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