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

Jobs
In 2007, Armenia's official unemployment rate stood at just over 7 percent, but some specialists argue that the statistics do not completely reflect the real situation. Despite an economic growth rate of 13.8 percent last year, 26.5 percent of the population still lives beneath the poverty line. The creation of new jobs and social welfare programs are among candidates' most readily given promises.
Candidate Positions
Artur Baghdasarian :
Baghdasarian has promised that if elected president he will create around 100,000 new jobs by 2013, the end of the five-year term for the candidate elected president in 2008. "Every year the number of new jobs will reach 20,000. To achieve that target, it is necessary to develop a five-year strategic program and give fresh impetus to production and export, as well as grant tax privileges for a period of one to two years to enterprises creating new jobs," Baghdasarian said.



Artashes Geghamian :
In his extensive campaign platform, Geghamian calls for development of a thorough state social welfare policy. "Creation of opportunities for every person must be the starting prerequisite . . . so that the person is able to exercise his constitutional right to work, as a result of which he will be able to maintain his family in a dignified way," his campaign platform reads.



Vahan Hovhannisian:
Hovhannisian touts "social justice" and an employment policy that will link educational institutions and scientific research with actual manufacturing. "Implementation of an active policy for employment and income-generating activities, and formation of an effective, developed labor market where workers will be provided with proper wages, healthy, safe and acceptable conditions of work, and employers will be provided with a competitive workforce with the necessary qualifications," his program reads. As with most candidates, though, the details of how to get to that point are not provided.



Levon Ter-Petrosian:
Over the next four years, the former president pledges to "triple" salaries and "quadruple" monthly pensions. The mega-hike would come via a Gross Domestic Product twice the size of 2007's $8.8 billion, according to campaign forecasts. Even "more impressive results can be expected in case of the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, the lifting of blockades [by Azerbaijan and Turkey] and the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border," he claims.



Serzh Sarkisian:
The prime minister puts the onus on refitting Armenian workers to compete in today's economy. An "effective" labor market itself, he says, will reveal the degree of Armenia's "systemic" unemployment. Once that is known, targeted retraining programs can be introduced to adjust workers' skills to suit available jobs, he claims.



Arman Melikian:
Melikian speaks in his campaign platform about ensuring "a new quality of life," provided via new jobs and the introduction of an insurance system. Details, though, are not elaborated. ?"For years on end, we have tried to overcome poverty and we have failed. In fact, the claims about the improvement of the quality of our life are very exaggerated," Melikian argues




There's more to the campaign than corruption alone. Take a survey of other issues driving the race.
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Get a fresh vantage point on Armenia's election tussle with political cartoons from E-Channel.am.

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