LOS ANGELES – Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that the peaceful change of government in Armenia is pan-Armnenian awakening. His remarks were delivered via Skype at the University of Southern California Institute of Armenian Studies program. “Armenia Tomorrow:” Citizen Diplomacy at Work.”
It was a historic event, with a full house of close to 1200 people gathered at USC Bovard Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sunday May 20, to hear international experts’ views on the future of Armenia, as well as to listen to Prime Minister Pashinyan and Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian from Yerevan, via Skype.
As Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan appeared on the screen, the audience stood up and welcomed him with cheers and claps, as Salpi Ghazarian, director of the Institute of Armenian studies introduced the Prime Minister.
PM Pashinyan said the meaning of existence of the Republic of Armenia is to concentrate Armenia’s social, economic, financial, scientific potential or most of it in its territory and ensure the security and normal development of that potential. “Our task is to stop and tun back the millennial wheel of our people’s emigration, to make Armenia a state aimed at preserving the potential of Armenians and ensuring its normal activity. In order to reach this goal, we should reach the point that the citizen of Armenia is the highest leadership, this must be cornerstone of Armenia’s future,” PM Pashinyan asserted.
The PM also mentioned that elections were falsified and rigged and that he people should have free and honorable as well as fair elections. The citizens need legitimacy in future elections, and elected just government, he said. He added that the priority task of the new government is to become the people’s institutional power guarantor.
When Salpi Ghazarian asked how to keep the citizens engaged in political processes in the period from election to election, Pashinyan stated, “I think after these changes we have no problem of ensuring the engagement of its citizens: the most important is that the citizen fights for his/her right.”
As for the future of the Diaspora, the PM said here the issue of engagement is sometime conditioned by the provisions of the Constitution. “The Constitution says that for instance a person can be appointed as a minister who has been only a citizen of Armenia in the past four years and has lived in Armenia in the past five years. We think this regulation doesn’t reflect our national aspirations and creates artificial barriers for the engagement of the Diaspora. We plan to eliminate these barriers so that we can use the Diaspora’s potential in the process of development of state institutions,” the PM said.