Sarkisian Claims Positive Change In Armenia

In his New Year’s address to the nation, President Serzh Sarkisian claimed that his administration brought about “large-scale” positive changes in Armenia in the course of 2017.

He also promised continued economic betterment that will lead many Armenians working abroad to return to their homeland.

“The year 2017 was a year of hard work and implementation of serious programs,” he said in televised remarks aired on the New Year’s Eve. “The pace of large-scale changes did not diminish. Furthermore, we pushed them forward with greater determination.”

“Our ambitions are big and we will be consistent in putting them into practice,” he said, adding that the results of government policies should be “considerable and tangible” to every citizen.

“Together we will bring back to Armenia our loved ones that had left the country,” he declared. “They will come back because they will see more room to work and distinguish themselves in Armenia.”

Prime Minister Karen Karapetian also sounded an optimistic note about the country’s future when he congratulated Armenians on the New Year. He pointed to faster economic growth achieved in 2017.

“The annual economic performance will be better than we expected in 2016 and positively different from the indicators of other countries in the region,” he said in a televised address broadcast on December 30. “To cope with all the problems facing the country, we must work hard and ensure sustainable growth every year.”

“Be assured that we are going to have an awesome and wonderful country,” added Karapetian.

Sarkisian and other senior officials said in December that the Armenian economy is on track to grow by more than 6 percent in 2017. Economic growth in the country slowed to just 0.2 percent in 2016.

Karapetian vowed to speed up growth through major reforms and a fight against corruption when Sarkisian named him prime minister in September 2016. He has repeatedly indicated his desire to retain his post after the end of Sarkisian’s final presidential term and Armenia’s transformation into a parliamentary republic in April 2018.

The president has so far declined to clarify whether he is planning to become prime minister or take up another state post. He spoke on Sunday of “many joint tasks” that still need to be accomplished his administration and ordinary people.

Sarkisian’s political allies have said that he will stay on as chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) in any case.