Take a sneak peek at the policies behind the political personalities.

Rule of Law
Human rights violations, media restrictions, a judicial system allegedly driven by political -- and presidential -- interests. "Rule of law" is a term still struggling to get a foothold in Armenian public life. In their speeches and platforms, the nine presidential candidates present how they see a country where respect for the law would reign supreme.
Candidate Positions
Levon Ter-Petrosian :
The former president considers dismantling what he terms Armenia’s “robber regime” to be a priority. He emphasizes the creation of an effective system of checks and balances on the legislative, executive and judicial branches of power, and the establishment of “full democracy,” with guarantees for freedom of speech, press and conscience and expansion of the powers of civil society organizations, local governments and the Ombudsman. Power, he argues, must not be concentrated in the hands of one or two people, and the independence of Armenia's legislative, executive and judicial branches must be ensured. Details about how to reach this state, however, are not provided.

Serzh Sarkisian :
The prime minister claims his goal is to have all citizens equal before the law, regardless of material wealth. "[I]n the Armenia to which we aspire there will be no poor, no privileged people," he claims. At a February 3 meeting in Yerevan, he went on to assert that "I will not allow a regression of democracy and human rights protection in Armenia. Moreover, we still have a problem in making free speech an obligatory rule and practice for our media. A person expressing his thoughts freely and unrestrainedly must be respected in our society."

Vahan Hovhannisian :
Hovhannisian insists that an open society with a functioning judicial system are the safeguards for building an economy based on actual competition rather than on favoritism. “The establishment of a real democracy and civil society by all means implies the formation of effective political, economic and social mechanisms of ensuring human rights and freedoms, providing the participation of broad circles of the public in state governance,” his program states.

Arman Melikian :
Melikian argues that “there is no rule of law among us.” Citing passages from the Armenian Constitution, the candidate proposes increasing the degree of civil society’s involvement in government, and reducing the stake held by “elite groups” allegedly interested in taking over government functions.

Aram Harutiunian:
Ironically, given Armenia's current political tensions, Harutiunian proposes a law on the opposition, as a result of which “cooperation between the government and opposition will be mutually beneficial and will contribute to the country’s development.” The candidate proposes founding a so-called "Economic Parliament" made up of businesspeople from small and medium-sized companies. "It will not be suitable for anyone to remain in the shadow segment of the economy, and competition will become genuinely free. A businessman will no longer wish to get to the National Assembly, as he will have nothing to do there,” he says.

Vazgen Manukian:
Manukian proposes changes in the state administration in the spheres of economy, social welfare, and justice, among others, that would allegedly overhaul all aspects of public life within two to three years. “A new constitution must underlie that package and this constitution will introduce a model of democratization of branches of power and local government bodies as well as decentralization of power,” he says.

Artur Baghdasarian:
Baghdasarian contends that the law of power, rather than the power of the law, prevails in Armenia. Evoking international legal norms for defense of human rights and civil liberties, he calls for judicial reforms but without providing specifics of how the reforms would accomplish his goals.

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