Meeting with members of his staff, Pashinian argued that the Civil Contract party won a popular mandate to implement its election platform.
“I want to say that the entire government system’s task is very clear: to implement over the next five years what is written in the Civil Contract party’s pre-election program and was approved by Armenian citizens’ votes,” he said. “Therefore, it is people who believe in that program and regard it as their operational guideline who must work in the state governance system. This is an important precondition.”
“Those who do not believe, do not accept or have reservations [about the program] … we find that normal. Therefore, we must wish those who have a problem with that success in their further activities,” he said.
Pashinian did not specify any mechanisms for getting rid of government or law-enforcement officials not trusting him. He said only that his government is planning “major reforms of the civil service system.”
Armenian law bans politically motivated dismissals of civil servants.
During the recent election campaign Pashinian pledged to “purge” the state bureaucracy and wage “political vendettas” against local government officials supporting the opposition. He repeatedly brandished a hammer meant to symbolize a popular “steel mandate” which he said he needs in order to continue ruling Armenia with a more firm hand.
The state human rights ombudsman, Arman Tatoyan, denounced that campaign rhetoric. He said that staff purges inevitably involve mass violations of workers’ rights.
The secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, Armen Grigorian, stated earlier this week that Pashinian’s party received a popular mandate to carry out such purges. “The state apparatus … must unequivocally serve the victorious [political] force,” he told Armenian Public Television.
According to Armenian press reports, several provincial governors appointed by Pashinian are now pressuring elected heads of local communities, who supported opposition forces during the elections, to resign. One of those governors has publicly demanded their resignation.
The Union of Communities of Armenia, which represents the country’s elected local administrations, on Wednesday condemned the government pressure as illegal and undemocratic.
Pashinian already pledged to purge the government, judiciary and security apparatus of “remnants” of the country’s former leadership in April 2020. He accused them of trying to discredit him and scuttle his initiatives.