YEREVAN — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian on Tuesday claimed to have delivered on all the promises which he made to Armenians when leading the mass protests that brought him to power in May.
Pashinian argued that he ousted Armenia’s longtime former leader, Serzh Sarkisian, without bloodshed, launched a crackdown on corruption and broke up economic monopolies after taking over the government, and prevented fraud in local elections subsequently held in various parts of the country. He said his government has also ensured that everyone is equal before the law.
“There is only one conclusion that can be drawn from this: in the Republic of Armenia power has been fully given back to the people and really belongs to the people,” Pashinian declared at a news conference.
The remarks came six days before the official start of campaigning for snap parliamentary elections slated for December 9. Pashinian’s My Step alliance is widely expected to win them.
“We expect that we will get a vote of confidence from our people and gain a majority in the parliament,” the premier told reporters.
Pashinian promised that in case of his victory he will strive for an “economic revolution” that will turn Armenia into an industrialized and technology-based country.
Pashinian further acknowledged that tax evasion investigations launched into other large foreign-owned companies are “causing worries” abroad. “But we are working hard to present our motives to our foreign partners so that this [negative] investment sentiment is eliminated,” he said.
The companies accused of large-scale tax evasion or other fraud include the national water operation managed by the French utility giant Veolia, Armenia’s gas distribution network owned by Russia’s Gazprom conglomerate and the Armenian state railway also managed by the Russians. All of them strongly deny the accusations brought against them following the dramatic regime change in Yerevan.