ARF-D Parliamentary Election Platform Published in English

YEREVAN—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun, which is running in the upcoming April 2 Parliamentary Elections, just released the English language version of the platform, on which it has been campaigning. Below is the complete text.

A New Beginning, A Just Armenia
Accountable state, solidary society
Armenian Revolutionary Federation – Dashnaktsutyun 2017

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation – Dashnaktsutyun, as a national, democratic, socialist and a revolutionary political party, has always fought for the political, economic, social and cultural interests of the Armenian citizen and the Armenian people.

The ARF-D is a pan-Armenian force, with a vision for our future, a clearly defined set of values that emanate from the essence of our people, and with organizational structure and oversight mechanism in place to turn our visions into reality.

For the ARF-D the individual, their rights and dignity are of the highest value. It is imperative for the citizens of Armenia to have faith in their state, in their as well as their family’s future, and to actively take part in building that future. It is imperative to create conditions for soaring sustainable development; fresh spirit is needed in all spheres of public life.

The ARF’s election platform is firmly rooted in moral and just values. Our sights are set on the future and our youth. Our goal is to create a Strong and Just nation comprised of Free citizens.

Within the Republic of Armenia, the ARF-D has championed fundamental change; as a result we have adopted a parliamentary system of governance.

The ARF-D has the mission to complete, deepen and make irreversible what it has started. Through our participation and efforts we have brought autocratic rule to an end, we have set the foundations of new democratic governance; the election mechanism used to predetermine the self-perpetuation of the authorities has been eliminated; the door is now opened to fair and transparent elections. All we need to do is localize the international progressive experience of parliamentary systems.

Each citizen that entrusts the ARF-D with their vote guarantees sweeping reforms and progress within the country.

Each and every citizen of Armenia will personally feel the positive effects of these systemic changes, which will become evident with the implementation of the new system.

It is only through this path that we can eliminate the reasons of the decades-long just discontent of the citizens, remove the nation from spinning in circles and move it towards a sustainable development.

In a year, we will not have a national election to choose a president. All the issues of our nation are going to be dealt with in the National Assembly.

This is why it is critical to have real political forces in the parliament, with politicians who serve only the interests of the nation and of each citizen.

Dear Compatriots,

All of the political forces who will be participating in the upcoming elections are in front of you. Evaluate them and compare. You will see that the ARF-D is different – we are not a party centered around one individual; we have great experience; we have ideological foundations and principles which we have never betrayed; we are consistent; we have never been nor will we ever be populists saying one thing one day and the opposite the next. We have integrity, whether in government or in opposition, we have persistently identified the same issues and proposed solutions.

As part of the government, we have brought about a new beginning and quality change to all walks of our lives. We have started with Artsakh. Together we have been victorious in Artsakh. We have been able to instill patriotism back into our political agenda. We have succeeded in changing our system of governance.

The stronger the ARF-D becomes, the more stable, just, and peaceful our country becomes; the more rapid, productive and irreversible reforms become, reaching each family and citizen; and the positive solutions to our national issues become more secured. Armenia’s sovereignty becomes stronger.

Trust the ARF-D; on April 2, 2017 vote for the ARF-D, so we can build a just, developing and strong Armenia together.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun firmly believes that the desire of us all to have a free, secure, developing and solidary society is an attainable goal.

Our independent state and liberated Artsakh are the dignity and pride of our people. We can and must develop without concessions. This should become our national imperative, with the implementation of clear and transparent plans with specified goals and dedicated work.

Dear Compatriots,

By trusting the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun, you are voting for sustainable development, establishment of a solidary society, a strong state, and a free citizen.

The Individual And The State
Since the reinstatement of our independence, Armenia’s economic policy has been based on a self-regulated market liberal ideology and on the model of a “transition economy”. The State has failed in its responsibility to its citizens, leaving the “strong” to dominate competition without any consideration for the fate of the those that “lose”.

It is not surprising that our people are discontent that their quality of life is declining even in spite of economic growth because only a select few “winners” are benefiting from development. Consequently, the state has alienated itself from the citizen, and the citizen has become cynical about the state.

In the absence of any state responsibility for the citizen, the citizen has ceased feeling responsible for the state and the country. This has resulted in mass emigration, when the Armenian citizen no longer feels cared for and protected by their homeland, they seek to build their future in other countries. It is imperative to drastically change the country’s logic of socio-economic development by reaffirming the reciprocal responsibility between the state and the citizen and making the transition to the social market economic system enshrined in the new Constitution.

We are proposing the following:

• Ensure that all members of society are able to fairly benefit from economic output and economic growth.

• Secure all citizens’ right to employment.

• It is not acceptable for a full-time working individual to not be able to afford the basic needs for their family. At times, wages are so low that able-bodied and capable people are forced to receive subsidy as opposed to fair and honest work. Work must provide the individual with a dignified life, not simply sustenance. The minimum wage must be higher than the consumer basket. All working people must be able to exercise their right to rest, right to education, right to health care, and the right to cultural and spiritual practices.

• Halt the emigration of our countrymen who leave the country due to reasons of unemployment and lack of job opportunities. The state must implement programs and policies to increase job opportunities and protect the rights of workers.

• Guarantee the welfare of our elderly population. It is unacceptable for the elderly to end up in poverty, when they have spent their entire life working.

• Create a healthcare system in which all citizens have access to health services. No person should suffer or lose their life, as a result of not being able to afford medication or treatment from a physician.

• In order to prevent emigration, secure employment and housing for all those who have bravely and selflessly served the Armenian Armed Forces,

• Provide assistance to individuals with physical disabilities and/or those who suffer from mental illness, so that they may achieve their fullest potential and become productive members of society. Among these rights are the right for such individuals to have access to education, employment and free movement.

• Support young people to establish their families. Socio-economic difficulty, lack of housing, high unemployment and other contributing factors are forcing young people to marry later in life resulting in a lower birth rate and a looming demographic crisis.

• Develop mechanisms and safeguards to prevent the exploitation and depletion of natural resources, minimizing the short and long-term impacts on the environment, and in turn protecting public health. Additionally, there is a need for comprehensive natural resource management which must take into account the equitable distribution of wealth generated to all members of society.

• Natural resources, including land, water, animals, plants, forests, the natural landscape and atmosphere belong to the people. These natural resources belong not only to the current generation, but to future generations as well. The irresponsible and uncoordinated misuse of these resources harm people’s livelihood, moreover they bring forth issues both for the present and future.

• Implement automatic water management systems and expand strategic water reserves.

• Conduct an active repatriation policy, so that Armenians, who have departed, as well as Diasporan Armenians have an opportunity to re-establish themselves in the homeland before their descendants are assimilated and stop being Armenian. Armenians, who have left the homeland and those that live in the Diaspora make high-level contributions to the advancement of economic, cultural, scientific, and sporting fields in their host countries. By creating conditions conducive for repatriation, this human capital can be shifted towards the advancement of our country.

Business And The State
Today, if you were to ask our business owners what assistance they need from the state, many would respond, “Let them not interfere in our business. That will be the greatest assistance.” The state must stand on the side of business owners and support them, secure fair competitive conditions and clear business regulations. The state must be prepared to share risks with the private sector in order to lead in the areas where the risks are greater or in the areas where profits are lower or in the areas where financial investments are absent. Even the most liberal and conservative political forces in the world support their country’s business initiatives. Whereas we have left our endeavors without support in global competition.

We are proposing the following:

• Create fair conditions for business development and ownership. Regardless of how many accolades Armenia receives in various international business rankings, the high rankings do not lessen the burdens endured by business owners. Small and medium-sized businesses, which not only provide jobs and wages, but also create opportunities for import and export, are often overrun by large corporations. Instead of providing incentives, banks and tax agencies become usurpers, imposing unreasonable and enslaving conditions.

• Prioritize financing public-private ventures, especially in strategic sectors and sectors which have social impact. The government has to reassess its passive approach in regards to economic issues. It is imperative to actively support such ventures, develop venture financing, financing, and other incentives to stimulate the economy.

• Support local manufacturers and producers. Many domestic businesses, ventures, and initiatives do not survive in competition with foreign producers and importers, because of their price-fixing policies. The Armenian villagers are not able to sell their cultivated products, because our country is inundated with cheap foreign products. The state must give priority to, and support, its domestic producers.

• Further strengthen the campaign against monopolies and dishonest competition by instituting harsh penalties and advocating for free entry to the economic market.

• Minimize interference by oversight bodies, keeping in mind that oversight bodies should be aimed toward unethical business practices and not act as a barrier to honest ventures.

• In formulating the state educational policies current and future economic needs should be the leading factors. The business, science, and education fields must closely collaborate and coalesce.

• Reassess the prices for all services provided by natural monopolies. Current prices are not reasonable or competitive for many business people. Instead, high prices secure massive profits for natural monopolies.

The system of governance currently in place is in need of institutional changes. Being a public servant (including civil and community servants) is an honor – these roles must be filled with highly qualified and credible individuals. Each and every official should be accountable for what they do, and what they don’t do; they should never take advantage of their position for personal gains. Conflicts of interests must to be eliminated on all levels. Furthermore, public servants must be properly remunerated for their work in order to avoid the temptation of misuse of power.

We propose the following;

• Guarantee transparency in the operation of all governmental bodies. Accountability must be targeted and individualized. All governmental bodies must maintain performance indicators to objectively evaluate their success. Each and every state employee must know their rights, duties, and responsibilities.

• All government employees deserve proper pay and benefits in order to meet their familial responsibilities. This would help to reduce the present issue of corruption. This policy should include broader compensation such as health and education benefits.

• Maintain high standards of professionalism and public trust, in order to continuously attract high caliber young people to public service.

• Implement all means of identifying and preventing possible conflicts of interest; completely separating business from political and administrative authority.

• Establishment of an independent anti-corruption body, with the active participation of the opposition and civil society. It should deal with cases of blatant corruption and issues which are at the center of public attention, but should not create the illusion of work.

Artsakh, Security, And Foreign Policy
We strive to exist as a nation, to shape Free, Independent, and United Armenia, thus there is no alternative to the creation of strong state institutions which safeguard our security. The reestablishment of our independent state began with the Artsakh liberation movement and its existence is a result of the victory that was secured on the battlefield. Therefore, we must acknowledge that Artsakh is not a separate issue. Artsakh is an inseparable part of the Armenian question, the Armenian Cause. In this regard, our position remains unchanged and we are resolute that Artsakh must be unified with Mother Armenia. For us, the independence of Artsakh is a temporary resolution of tactical value.

We ourselves must ensure the security of our country, knowing full well that being prepared for the war is the only way to prevent the danger of war. In this regard, any statements involving unilateral concessions do nothing except increase the threats of war.

The defense of our homeland is the sacred duty and collective responsibility of our people; it should be carried out regardless of any political views, or social-economic status. Our armed forces should be our focus point and we must learn our lessons from the April War.

Armenia should pursue an independent foreign policy based exclusively on our national interest and our state’s long-term strategic vision for development. We are not pro-American, pro-Russian, or pro-European, instead we are pro-Armenian and Armenia-centered. Furthermore, our foreign policies should be exclusively guided by our national interests. The geopolitical alliances we form should not be in opposition of any one side, they must be based on the realization of our national objectives.

We propose to:

• Strengthen the political and military cooperation between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh, as well as economic, financial, social, cultural and educational integration.

• Exert efforts to involve Artsakh as a full-fledged party in the negotiations pertaining to its future.

• Based on the concept of the Nation-Army, promote the creation of a military-industrial complex based on our scientific and technological innovation. While, the opponent has petro-dollars, we have talented scientists, inventors, and engineers.

• Encourage the expansion of the professional-volunteer military services. We believe there should always be a professional soldier standing next to a conscript who is completing his service.

• Salaries of officers and contractual soldiers should align with the requirements of a dignified livelihood. The officers and soldiers who risk their lives daily, should not have to face financial hardships.

• Make recognition of and reparations for the Armenian Genocide an integral part of Armenia’s foreign policy agenda. Avoid any action that would undermine Armenian Genocide recognition. Nullify the Armenian-Turkish protocols which are counter to our national interests.

• Establish friendly relations with the Republic of Georgia based on mutual interests and respect. Good neighborly relations will have a positive impact on helping to fully protect the rights of the Armenians of Javakhk and generally the Armenians of Georgia.

• Consider as a fundamental principle that the Armenian republic is not only the guarantor of the citizens of Armenia, but also of the national goals of all Armenians. Therefore, there should be full integration and involvement of the Diasporan Armenians in the advancement of the development of the Armenian statehood. Realize a complete strategy which would tackle challenges faced by the Republic and different segments of the Armenian people, and reveal and utilize our pan-national potential.

Dear Compatriots,

We believe that we have brought forth a new beginning. We are optimistic.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun is organized, and has the will and determination to lead our people towards a Free, Just, and Affluent society. We believe in the creative potential of a Just country with Free citizens. This is the path to a Strong Armenia and proud citizen. We are determined. We need your vote and your confidence.

Trust the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun, and vote for us on April 2nd and together we will build a fair, developing, and strong Armenia.