On March 31, 2018, the leader of the “Yelk” faction of the National Assembly Nikol Pashinyan started a march protesting against the third president Serzh Sargsyan who was to become the prime minister. The protests started growing on a larger scale after Pashinyan marched to Yerevan on April 13, 2018. These actions resulted in the resignation of the newly elected Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan on April 23.
Opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan was nominated as a candidate for the post of Prime Minister on behalf of the “Yelk” faction. On May 8, he was elected Prime Minister of the country from the second attempt.
The Fact Investigation Platform studied Nikol Pashinyan’s speeches made during that period and singled out the promises that have not been fulfilled so far.
About the economy
“Thousands of Diaspora businessmen are holding their breath waiting for the outcome of the actions taking place in Armenia and, if I am elected Prime Minister, billions of investments will flow to Armenia.”
After the revolution, investments not only did not increase rapidly, but also decreased, amounting to 117 million dollars, recording the lowest result since 2003.
“In 2017, Armenia borrowed $ 800 million and increased the GDP by $ 700 million […] Can you imagine , the debt we borrowed is more than the result we created? Therefore, economic growth is not economic growth, but the result of statistical manipulations. ”
Since the revolution, the state debt has increased by more than 858 billion drams (not including the $ 750 million Eurobonds issued in January 2021), while the country’s economy has grown by only 619 billion drams.
“Agriculture must be developed in Armenia at a revolutionary pace. The use of new technologies should be widely applied in agriculture as well, in this case with a strategic goal as well, by sharply reducing the number of uncultivated agricultural lands, and finally eliminating the existence of such lands.”
Contrary to Pashinyan’s promise, the decline of agriculture continued after the revolution.
In 2017 agriculture was 15% of the country’s GDP, whereas in 2020 it was only 11.7%. The sown areas of agricultural crops have also sharply decreased.
In 2017, 294,500 hectares of land were cultivated in Armenia, whereas in 2020, the area under cultivation was 222,700 hectares․
“Over the past month, our country has been in the spotlight of the world press. This creates all the preconditions for us to have an unprecedented growth in tourism in the second half of the year, because predictably people will be willing to come and see what kind of country has managed to make such a revolution of love and solidarity that has moved and attracted the world community.”
Although the number of tourists in Armenia has really increased after the revolution, for example, 1․894 million tourists visited in 2019 against 1․652 million in 2018, but this can not be considered something extraordinary, as the continuous growth of tourists has been registered since 2006. As for the growth, there were years when the growth of the number of tourists was greater than after the revolution.
About the powers of the Prime Minister
“I think that, indeed, too much power is concentrated in the hands of the Prime Minister, and, conversely, powers have been shamelessly taken from other state institutions.”
Three years later, none of the powers of the Prime Minister have been reduced or transferred to another state institution.
“ Undoubtedly, the police and the NSS must change their status and become ministries.”
A year after this announcement, when there was an opportunity to turn the NSS and the police into ministries and to bring them under parliamentary control, they were left under subordination of the Prime Minister, while the leader of the ruling “My Step” faction Lilit Makunts stated that the politicization of law enforcement agencies is not expedient. At the same time, Nikol Pashinyan announced that when giving such a promise no specific date was mentioned.
And only recently was the Police Reform Program discussed, which proposes to turn the police into a ministry.
About the powers of the President
“In fact, all the possible functions have been taken away from the institution of the president reserving him the status of an office worker. This tarnishes the reputation of the Republic of Armenia. And yes, I am committed [․․․] What will be the point of the changes, if we, criticizing some phenomena, come to power and start using those levers ourselves, it will mean that the changes do not make any sense. ”
It has been three years since the revolution and the powers of the president have not increased.
The appointment of ambassadors
“The tradition of appointing freelance ambassadors and consuls general should be seriously reconsidered. The heads of diplomatic missions must also be accountable to the parliament.”
Although after the revolution, non-staff and political appointments of ambassadors decreased, they still exist. For example, the RA Ambassador to Italy Tsovinar Hambardzumyan, who before that was the head of the Foreign Relations Department of the Prime Minister’s Office.
The news about the appointment of Lilit Makunts as ambassador to the United States was also circulating. The latter did not deny it, stating that there are no restrictions for political appointments, and experience is not the most important thing in some cases.
As for being accountable to the parliament, there is no progress in this aspect as well: the ambassadors are accountable exclusively to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
About women’s inclusion
“Women will become or have already become a powerful factor in the new Armenia, and increasing their role will ensure the sustainable development of Armenia in the environment of love and solidarity.”
To understand to what extent Pashinyan has fulfilled his promise, it is enough to look at the involvement of women in the government formed by the latter and compare it with the composition of the previous government.
Thus, Karen Karapetyan’s government consisted of two female ministers: Minister of Justice Arpine Hovhannisyan and Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan. The female ministers in the interim government formed after the revolution were again two: Minister of Social Affairs Mane Tandilyan and Minister of Culture Lilit Makunts.
As for the composition of the current government, there is one female minister, the Minister of Health Anahit Avanesyan.
“On behalf of the people’s movement I want to say that hatred and hate speech is not our style or stylistics, and we believe that there should be no place for such phenomena in Armenia.”
“Every citizen of Armenia must be assured that the Republic of Armenia is doing everything possible and, even impossible, to protect the life, health and safety of every soldier.”
“This is an exceptional hour of nationwide awakening, and, just like the 1988 national movement led to the de facto self-determination of Artsakh, the result of the Armenian revolution will eventually be the de jure international recognition of Artsakh’s right to self-determination. Today, more than ever, we are close to achieving that goal. ”
“You know, I never start something if I am not sure that I can carry it through. I think throughout my political biography I have not given anyone a reason to think otherwise.”