“Armenia started facing problems from the point where the people’s political will was distorted” - Nikol Pashinyan Receives Public Council Members
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan received members of the Public Council, headed by Council Chairman Vazgen Manukyan. Welcoming the delegation, Prime Minister Pashinyan first touched upon his address on the events of March 1, 2008.
“I am glad to see you and discuss issues related to the activities of the Public Council. Earlier today, I made a statement on the events of March 1, 2008, and as Prime Minister, I apologized on behalf of the State for all those electoral frauds and political persecutions that occurred in the history of the Third Republic. My message and apologies were addressed to all political forces, politicians and citizens persecuted during the Third Republic.
Here, I would like to emphasize that the message was also addressed to you, Mr. Manukyan, as the leader of a political force that has suffered from electoral fraud. Mrs. Bakhshyan, you have pursued oppositional ctv for many years, and your political force has become a victim of fraud, persecution and political violence. Mr. Safaryan, either you have carried out oppositional activities.
I consider it very important to record this message and position at the state level because we need to say that if not 100 percent, at least 90 percent of the problems emerged at the point where the people’s political will was distorted in Armenia.
Unfortunately, I feel that safe the first presidential election and the parliamentary elections of 1999, even though the latter’s results were disputed at the Constitutional Court, elections used to be rigged in Armenia, leaving no room for free expression of people’s will or, more precisely, everything has been done to distort the free will of the people.
I want to make a record and express the hope that we have come to consensus that the page of electoral frauds, political persecution, corruption, lawlessness, arbitrariness, obscenity, human rights abuses is left behind forever. Anyway, I consider this the most important mission of our government and myself, as Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.
I am confident that we will be very decisive and firm in the service of the mission, no matter the number of votes we may have in an election, and the percent of citizens to vote for our political force.
I said this as a preface. I know that our meeting is not about these issues, but I suppose that today we can come across with many similar issues. Thank you.”
Vazgen Manukyan noted, in turn, “Thank you Mr. Prime Minister. We really need to talk about the Public Council, but I also want to refer to what you said. It would be desirable for March to become a symbol, not a day of fighting, but a day of solidarity. Whatever has happened, that page is closed, and March 1 should be remembered not as a day of conflict, but as the day when we learned a lesson from our own history and made solidarity with the entire nation.
Let all those who have committed a criminal offense be punished, that is not the question, but I perceive March 1 as a day of solidarity, unity and self-assessment.
As regards the Public Council, I believe it to be a crucial public entity; it is not accidental that such a body exists in 70 countries. Now new opportunities may emerge as it has become a constitutional body.
The Council brings together well-known public figures, not politicized in a sense, who remain dedicated to the nation and the State. They do not represent any political party, have no political ambitions; the only ambition they may have is to become a bridge between society and the authorities.”
During the meeting, Vazgen Manukyan briefed the Prime Minister on the activities carried out to form the Public Council and the steps to take ahead.