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

East vs. West
It’s more than just ties with Russia, Armenia’s traditional ally. Iran has built on its historic links with Yerevan in the years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, even as the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization make overtures as well. In a difficult region like the South Caucasus, most candidates say, a flexible foreign policy is key.
Candidate Positions
Vahan Hovhannisian :
The deputy parliamentary speaker prioritizes bringing Armenian regulations and laws into compliance with European Union standards. At the same time, he sees the deepening and enlargement of cooperation with Armenia’s immediate neighbors Georgia and Iran as strategically important. “There are broad opportunities for developing cooperation with Iran in the spheres of energy, trade and economy, transport communications,” his campaign platform notes. “These opportunities make it possible to develop and implement strategic programs [with Iran].”

Artashes Geghamian :
The onetime Yerevan mayor puts priority on the development and enrichment of Armenian-Russian relations, based on the principle of strategic partnership within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. He says that Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia alone – without other outside actors -- must form the axis of stability in the Caucasus. “Other interested states can get involved in the process of a constructive, peaceful settlement of controversial issues existing in the Caucasus, without dictating their will, though,” he says. Among the other “interested states” he includes strengthening economic ties also with Iran.

Vazgen Manukian :
Manukian proposes deepening relations with Georgia as well as with Russia, but does not elaborate. “The Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation must always have a special relationship independent of security systems,” he says, in reference to Armenia’s partnership program with NATO. Placing importance on stronger ties with the country’s eastern neighbors, especially with Iran and Arab countries, he nonetheless considers that membership in the European Union should be a key policy goal. “It is necessary to fully carry out the obligations assumed before the Council of Europe and carry out reforms envisaged by the Armenia-EU Neighborhood Policy Action Plan. . .” his program reads.

Levon Ter-Petrosian :
Similarly, Ter-Petrosian places importance on the consolidation and deepening of relations with Armenia’s neighbors -- Russia, Georgia, Iran -- but without delving into details. He calls for overcoming Armenia’s political and economic isolation, and increasing the country’s involvement in international and regional economies and trade.

Serzh Sarkisian:
The prime minister says that Armenia needs to take greater initiative to ensure the republic has a voice in international and, especially, regional affairs. The prime minister does not specify, but in his platform mentions among the goals “the development of political, economic ties with other countries, growth of trade turnover, promotion of cultural cooperation.”

Tigran Karapetian:
Karapetian also calls for enhanced ties with Georgia, as "it is a way that feeds Armenia" -- a reference to transportation links with Russia and Europe that pass through the country. Relations with Iran, however, receive less priority. Although “in friendly relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, we do not have the market or the opportunity that will contribute to our industry, or, say, for our products to conquer the Iranian market,” he said in one recent interview.

Aram Harutiunian :
Harutiunian places importance on the development of economic cooperation with the Commonwealth of Independent States as well as on expanded involvement with NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. According to Harutiunian, Armenia’s inclusion in the EU is important, but “not at the expense of national values.” “It is necessary to combine the interests of the United States and Russia in the region,” he says, adding that he views Russia as a strategic partner and finds it important to deepen and develop the two countries’ economic cooperation.

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