BY ANNETTE MOSKOFIAN
LONDON—On the evening of January 25, Dr. Armen Sarkissian Armenia’s Ambassador to the UK who has been nominated as the Republican Party’s candidate for the upcoming presidential election, held a meeting with the representatives of the Armenian community in London. In the meeting, which lasted an hour he discussed his plans for the candidacy.
He stated that Armenia has gone through political changes with the introduction of parliamentary system. He referred to the constitutional referendum held in Armenia on 6 December 2015. The proposed amendments to the constitution changed the country from having a semi-presidential system to a parliamentary republic. He believes that this change will help Armenia in its democratization process. The parliament with its members will be responsible for the running of the country and it is in this new framework that the new President will be elected. The role of the President has been clearly defined in the constitution.
The current President Serzh Sarkisan met with Dr. Armen Sarkissian recently and asked him to become a candidate for the Presidency. It is his expectation that the future President should give special attention to foreign relations specifically economic relations to attract foreign investments into Armenia, which also includes investments from the diaspora. The president believes that Dr. Armen Sarkissian possesses the relevant experience and ability to meet these expectations.
However the final decision lies with the Armenian people and the vote of Parliament on March 2.
Dr. Sarkissian has asked for some time to consider the nomination. He needs to consult his family, and his extended family the Armenian community in London. He believes it is very important to consult the parties that are represented in the Parliament, understand their views and expectations and they in return need to familiarize themselves with his views.
He also needs to consult other organisations and their representatives, intellectuals, businessmen etc.
The role of the President is a very important one and Dr Sarkissian feels that this decision has to be taken after serious consideration.
His vision for future Armenia is “to make this small country an international nation.”
“Armenians in Diaspora need to have not only spiritual ties with Armenia but economic, cultural, educational ties, and all feel citizen of Armenia. Armenia in turn has to understand that the Diaspora is the extended part of itself. “
The new model of Armenia should be an open one; economically, politically and socially, one that will encourage everyone to be part of its future success. Citizens of Armenia need to be empowered to feel they are in charge of their country and their future.
Dr. Armen Sarkissian also believes that the new model will be achieved by conquering corruption in its all forms. He believes corruption is not only in bribe giving but exists in the judiciary system, in the police force, education system, and even the media. Corruption needs to be fought by elevating and educating the people so the culture of corruption is eliminated. This in turn will create an environment that will attract investment in the country, where investors will have confidence that the appropriate governance mechanism exists to support the business investments. He believes that Armenia can attract investment from Europe once these changes are made.
“We need a strong Armenia, a strong Artsakh and a strong Diaspora in order to a have a strong nation.”
At the end of his speech he thanked everyone present and stated that 2018 is a very important year for Armenia, as we will be celebrating the centenary of the first Republic. We need to evaluate the past mistakes and appreciate the accomplishments and take lessons from the past.
Dr Sarkissian’s vision of a new model for Armenia is perhaps every Armenian’s dream. This is a dream that needs concrete plans and commitment to materialize it into reality. Dr Sarkissian needs our support if he accepts the nomination, but we in turn expect these beautiful words to become reality for a new dawn.