PROGRAM STANDPOINTS OF THE PARTY ON THE FOLLOWING ISSUES:
Priorities of foreign policy
- Balance in foreign policy paces as fundamental principle to foreign policy, which will eliminate the thread of becoming an annex to any country.
- Fusion with European organizations such as Council of Europe, OSCE establishment of bilateral relations with European countries, and EU integration as a key direction of foreign and domestic policy.
- Cooperation with Russia, CIS and other countries, USA, Western neighbors, as well as large countries like China, India, Japan, Canada, etc.
Fundamentals of foreign policy, including
- Regional component, where Armenia establishes itself in its territory as a sovereign, legal, democratic country capable of ensuring minimal self-satisfaction.
- Competitive component, which concentrates on the external environment and presupposes clarification of Armenia's functional ''role'', mission and 'specialization' in the region. In party’s vision, Armenia's mission should be the role of an island of democracy and sustainability, as well as an epicenter of progressive development.
- Integration is not a final goal for Armenia; it is a tool for improved well-being, prosperity and security. By saying integration the party means mutually beneficial cooperation, mutual understanding and enhanced level of mutual aid.
- Friendly relations with former Soviet Republics on mutually beneficial basis.
Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)
- The party believes that as far as we have membership to CSTO, the contractual obligations should be fulfilled.
- Irrespective of Armenia’s possible membership to NATO, depending on its security needs, current challenges require army modernization in accordance with NATO standards, which have proved their vitality in resisting both global and inter-state challenges.
- To be able to withstand economic, social, foreign policy challenges, extend and improve the quality of material and strategic maintenance services to the army, apart from keeping the traditional economic, political and strategic cooperation with Russia, it is crucial to cooperate with new partner countries such as EU and NATO, and especially USA.
- It is necessary to maintain close cooperation with our traditional ally - Russia, yet reconstructing it on the basis of mutually agreed and respected interests. Within the scope of that cooperation the formula of 'property in return of debt', as well as sale of strategic fields of Armenian economy to Russia or any other country are deemed unacceptable.
- Armenia-Turkey relations presuppose an open, honest dialogue through cultural, economic and social cooperation. The two nations should gradually amend the archetypes governing over them, adopt universal human and European values, recognize their own history and resolve the Genocide and the issue of its heritage issue, as well as regulate all separating disputes and relations in a comprehensive and complex way.
- After the peaceful regulation of Artsakh conflict a trilateral agreement with Azerbaijan should be concluded, the third party being the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh.
- On the basis of the existing friendly relations, enhance the economic cooperation with Iran for the purpose of ensuring transport, energy and other forms of security of both countries. Construction of a wide-diameter Iran-Armenia-EU gas pipeline should be a high priority.
- The party believes that friendly relations with Georgia should be established on the basis of mutual trust, while paces of economic cooperation should be passed to political sphere as well. The latter will be possible especially taking into consideration common priorities of the two countries in EU membership.
Armenia’s participation in regional programs
- It is necessary to achieve Armenia’s participation in regional economic and political programs through feasible and initiative foreign policy denying pressure from any third country.
- Karabakh conflict should be resolved in a peaceful and a publicly acceptable manner, Karabakh should become a full party in negotiations. The party supports such regulation of the conflict which debars Karabakh's return to Azerbaijan and doesn't break Armenia's sovereignty over its own territories.
Recognition of the Genocide
- International experience and world history show that problems are resolved when a step forward is made from both parties. It is important for both parties to adopt universal human and European values, recognize their own history,resolve the Genocide issue and regulate all separating disputes and relations in a comprehensive and complex manner.
Armenia-Diaspora: enhanced links and effective cooperation
- Republic of Armenia should assist to the retention of Armenains in Diaspora, promote straightforward relations between Armenians in Diaspora and become a link between Diaspora communities, serving a focal point of communication. Diaspora, in its turn, should serve as a paramount bridge of cultural, economic, political relations and cooperation between Armenia and the rest of the world. With this regard, a special governing body should be created within the Government of the Republic of Armenia.
Other /Distinguishing the Armenian factor/
- Another significant horizon is distinguishing Armenian factor in all countries wherever the fate has spread Armenians. Armenian factor with its positive and tested qualities, which is not denied by strangers as well who face promotional contribution of Armenian communities.
Priorities of domestic policy
- Legal reforms;
- Establishment of civil society;
- Economic and social policy.
Government’s role in regulation and development of the economy
- The government shall be more effective in undertaking regulatory functions conferred to him in economy, including those calling for anti-monopoly, free competition, justice and resolution of economic disputes.
Fundamentals of economic policy, including
- Economy should develop by the principle of free economic relations to secure maximum interaction with world economy and find its earned place in the world distribution of labor.
- Innovative economic development and high industrial methods may realistically lead to unprecedented success.
- Increased level of transparency in legal and economic fields is required to attract foreign investments.
- Improvement of National Assembly supervision mechanisms over the Central Monetary body of Armenia;
- Development and introduction of an effective deposit guaranteeing system, which is an important step towards consolidation of public trust in banks;
- Creation of favorable environment for formation of private and state insurance and pension funds and companies;
- Ensuring more liberal monetary policy to promote mortgage lending;
- Increase volumes of bank lending in real economic sector, defining operative supervision over use of loans;
- Implement a feasible program of returning all funds deposited in the former ”Armsavingbank”, as well as other 33 banks and credit organizations that went bankrupt or got liquidated during early 90s. Following principles should be used as implementing the programs: all deposits should be registered as domestic state debt to its citizens, proceeds gained from the privatization of state assets should serve funds for return of deposits, as well as funds obtained through confiscation of the wealth pilfered from the public and enormous taxes concealed from the state by a number of business entities.
- Budget processes should be more open and transparent;
- Transfer to development budgets, making clear distinctions between expenses to be dedicated to implementation of long-term development programs and others;
- Increase efficiency of budget expenses; reduce state maintenance costs for the administrative staff;
- Program republic and community budget expenses and perform on the basis of final result-driven program budgeting;
- Ensure budget deficit not to exceed the maximum 3%.
- The party believes that it is necessary to create a tax system operating on the principles of justice and equality, combat shadow economy, increase inflows from direct taxes (profit, income), reduce rates of the main types of taxes, struggle against the defective practice of showing false losses, employed by business entities. It is necessary to permanently improve and enhance the level of tax administration.
- Encourage domestic production and import of high value added products through customs policy. Ensure increased transparency of administration in customs houses, eradicate the corruption deeply rooted therein, and guarantee equal legal conditions for all importers and exporters. For the purpose of promoting domestic production, it is necessary to implement protective customs policy, which anticipates moderate customs regime over exported domestic production and relatively stringent customs regime over similar foreign products imported. It is necessary to permanently improve and enhance the level of customs administration.
- The state economic policy should be focused on promoting development of most scientific, innovative branches of economy, at the same time taking into account the energy, strategic, economic, transport, food and ecological safety of the country.
- The party believes that it is important to ensure political and financial-economic independence of communities, that is to say cancel the right of government and any other authorities to dismiss community leaders and councilors and be consistent in implementation of the decentralization process, i.e. grant communities with key authorities and financial means required therein. Adopt a new law on local governments, which will allow increasing community budgets up to 25%-35% of the state budget, thus elevating the lives in rural and urban communities.
- In order to ensure the development of local government systems, revise the laws on local duties and payments, financial leveling, etc.
- Reform the system of territorial administration.
Foreign economic relations
- Taking into consideration the small volume of Armenia's economic and financial markets and poor sustainability, always take account of economic and financial stability and security in foreign economic relations.
Balance of payment (trade)
- The party believes it is necessary to promote the growth of export and development of productions to substitute imported products, which will lead to decrease of unprecedented and unacceptable sizes of negative foreign trade balance.
Ways to overcome the existing obstacles to economic development, including
Stimulation of investments
- Ensuring favorable climate for investments largely depends on combined activities of the state, enterprises and commercial banks directly relating to investment, in the context of general investment policy. Key instruments for the state investment policy include anti-corruption, additional payment, tax-budgetary, monetary and anti-monopoly policies, structural reforms, etc.
Development of financial markets
- Development of financial market should begin from the trust formulated amongst the society first of all for the state and judicial systems, and later on for financial and economic institutes.
Improvement of competitiveness
- The party believes that it is important to create effective mechanisms for protection of ownership rights irrespective of the type of ownership, restrict monopolist activities in the domestic market, ensure equal rights for all business entities, undertake effective and decisive measures against corruption, patronage and shadowiness resulting therefrom, ensure transparency in activities of companies.
Development of small and medium business
- The party believes that it is important to ensure consistency in implementing small and medium business sector reforms. The party considers small and medium business to be one of the key points for formation of the middle class in Armenia, which will promote economic growth as developing itself, create new jobs, enhance territorial development and reduce poverty.
- Current share of small and medium business in GDP of Armenia is too small and does not correspond to its potential. This situation was created as a result of overwhelming corruption in state administration and judicial systems, with artificially created excessive concentration of economy in the hands of certain people, monopolized markets, and flourished shadow economy. Significant increase in small and medium businesses will be possible as ensuring the following:
- Legislative and administrative reforms;
- Fair competition in tax, customs, financial, credit and other sectors;
- Anti-corruption actions;
- Development and implementation of innovative policy;
- Promotion of investment policy;
- Development of territorial infrastructures.
Fulfillment of WTO requirements
- Such WTO requirements, which may threaten security and development of this or that branch of economy of the Republic of Armenia, should be negotiated over with WTO about omitting or delaying their fulfillment in Armenia.
Balanced development of marzes
- The key objective of territorial policy should be formation of alternative territorial centers and their sustainable development parallel to Yerevan in economic, scientific, educational and cultural fields. It is necessary to encourage decentralization of human and financial resources from the capital city to spread through the marzes, promote economic, social and from a long-term prospective political decongesting of the city of Yerevan, contribute to strengthening of frontier and high mountainous regions. It is essential to ensure development of infrastructures in marzes by state budget funds. The party believes that self-satisfying and rich communities make grounds for strong state.
Reduction of shadow economy
- Shadow economy constitutes 50%-60% of Armenia's economy, the elimination of which requires elementary political will from the authorities, rather than sophisticated legal mechanisms. The party considers reducing shadow economy and levying taxes upon it as a result of which additional 140 billion AMD (400 million USD) inflow will registered inthe budget already in 2007.
Eradication of corruption
- The party believes that corruption cannot possibly be overcome through institutional measures only, as far as the authorities do not have the political will for that. Following the formation of legitimate authorities elected by people’s votes, we should hunt for arrest and punishment of high rank corruptions in all the severity of the law, requiring compensation for all losses caused by them. It is necessary to carry out a process of economic crime assessment and for forgiveness. As combating corruption it might be essential to create a single independent republican power structure, in the governance of which the role of the representatives of civil society should be central.
Development of industry
- The party gives high priority to development of high technologies (including information) and reprocessing industries and enhanced export of their production abroad, formation of closed-cycle production types, as well as encouragement of cluster arrangements. Special attention should be paid to expansion of competitive production, which will be possible through harmonization of production quality with the international standards. It is necessary to increase the share of industry in the country's GDP.
Development of agriculture
- The party believes that rich and sustainable rural districts are serious guarantee for sovereignty and security of the state. With this regard, it is of crucial importance to:
- Contribute to production and export of agricultural goods;
- Create favorable conditions for implementation of investment and loan programs in rural economies. It is necessary to adopt an efficient lending system for the sector, taking into account the characteristics of the given field as defining the maturity dates and interests rates for loan extension, accepting land and other assets used in agriculture as collateral. Apply privileged loan conditions against agricultural enterprises operating in high mountainous and frontier zones;
- Create favorable conditions and mechanisms for formation of different forms of agricultural co-operations on voluntary basis;
- Develop flexible system of agricultural insurance and have the state actively participate therein first of all in the form of undertaking indemnification of some losses.
Provision of energy security
- The party believes that it is necessary to diversify energy-carrier sources, increase energy producing capacities, while as a long term objective – close the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant, given availability of new and modern energy sources capable of substituting it, promote renewable energy, more active participation of Armenia in regional energy programs, boost vigorous policy targeting implementation of the initiative on constructing the Iran-Armenia-EU gas pipeline. In the view of ensuring energy independence of the country, it is of crucial importance to satisfy the main portion of country's energy demand through utilization of natural alternative sources of energy (solar energy, water from almost 150 mountain rivers, wind power, gases from solid waste, gravity force).
Development of industrial infrastructure (energy, communication, transportation, etc)
- Operation and development of county's strategic infrastructures should take place under alert state supervision, while railways and roads exclusively under state ownership.
Innovative development of economy
- Armenia may defeat challenges of both regional and world scale natural competition, developing innovative economy, i.e. economy based on knowledge and high technologies. In this respect, the party considers demonstrating a number of legislative initiatives which will:
- Provide for privileged tax conditions for such branches of economy as high technologies, including information and nanotechnologies;
- Considerably increase financing for science and education sectors in the Republic of Armenia;
- Secure financing in the form of annual subsidization from the state budget for technical, technological upgrade of relevant faculties in state and private education institutions preparing human resources for the above sectors, trainings for the lecturer staff conducted in the best foreign education university and study internships of best students in the best education institutions;
- Donate funds from the state budget for equipping the secondary and vocational education systems with modern material and technical bases, increasing their current share in the budget expenses up to 5 times. 100% computerization of all schools in Armenia at the expense of state funds, appropriate state orders in state and private institutes for preparation of relevant teachers;
- Increase the threshold of minimal salary for scientists, regardless of the field, up to 50-fold of minimal salary in the country;
- Appropriate 50% of budget funds for covering expenses required for participation of relevant Armenian companies in international exhibitions on the above sectors and organizing such international exhibitions in Armenian.
Improvement of corporate governance
- To “Heritage” Party the underpinning of improvement of corporate governance in inter-society mutual trust, honest partner relations between the society and the business, formation of such culture and efficient operation of the judicial system, as well as composition of public trust in it.
Fundamentals of social policy and solutions to current problems, including
Overcoming the poverty
- Define minimal salary in the amount of minimal consumer basket;
- Moralize and conduct supervision over social protection mechanisms and administration;
- Increase benefits and pensions and define in the amount of minimal consumer basket;
- Create 150 000 jobs with wages exceeding the minimal consumer basket in 40%-50%.
Reduction of polarization of society
- Reduce unemployment and implement effective employment policy;
- Ensure real growth of population’s incomes and consolidate the social protection system.
Creation of employment
- Undertake urgent revision of the Labor Code;
- Trigger operation of employment services for the purpose of creating new jobs, providing re-specialty services and developing the self-employment market;
- Develop and implement certain policy against rural labor force, eliminate labor abuse, conduct legislative supervision over employer/employee relations, give legal verification to non formal relations;
- Ensure real protection of labor right of the vulnerable society;
- Legalize shadow market employees, protect their rights and give social guarantees.
- For reduction of unemployment and increased level of employment it is necessary to:
Reduction of emigration
- Emigration is already a real threat to the Republic of Armenia and its existence as a sovereign state, and the party believes that accentuated reduction of emigration, homecoming of emigrants and presence of immigration may be achieved only through improved moral and psychological situation in the country, recovered believe in the future, reduced inter-society polarization, rapidly decreased volumes of corruption through serious anti-corruption measures, guaranteed provision of perfect economic competition. In “Heritage” Party’s opinion, formation of the new, legitimate authorities should target the above.
Improvement of public health care system
- Increase and ensure target use of the state budget funds allotted to the health care system;
- Improve health services all over Armenia to become physically and financially affordable;
- Improve health care system management and internal administration;
- Apply efficient mechanisms for state regulation over tariffs in private medical care and services;
- Ensure appropriate use of the medical equipments and pharmaceuticals delivered to Armenia in the form of aid;
- Render sustainable, free medical care to the vulnerable population;
- Revise the policy for import of pharmaceuticals, equipping the market with efficient, safe and high quality pharmaceuticals;
- Take serious measures against forged pharmaceuticals; enhance customs control, reduce and totally eliminate the smuggler import of pharmaceuticals;
- Recover the VAT privilege over circulation of pharmaceuticals, which was cancelled in January, 2001;
- Immediately reduce and totally eliminate shadow circulation of pharmaceuticals (this is assessed within the limits of 70%-75%);
- Develop efficient policy for providing pharmaceuticals to the vulnerable population.
- Affordable and high quality health care requires:
Social security and insurance systems reforms
- Urgently introduce mandatory medical insurance;
- In order to encourage medical insurance, allow business entities operating in the Republic of Armenia reduce their profit, and count as expense, if they undertake to pay 30% of employees’ medical insurance;
- Switch to accumulative methods of social insurance;
- Ensure high quality housing and public utilities, as well as quality transport services;
- Protect the family, motherhood, childhood.
- For the purpose of ensuring the constitutional social rights of country’s population, the party attaches importance to the following:
Education system reform
- Develop long-term and target programs for training narrow-specialty professionals in higher, secondary and vocational education sectors.
- The party believes that it is necessary to impose more stringent requirements against higher education, which will eliminate or mitigate manifestation of mediocrity and motivation of just holding an education diploma.
- Lending mechanisms should be applied in higher and vocational education systems.
- It is necessary to apply much stricter certification criteria for private higher educational institutions, and regulate the process of preparing human resources necessary for the economy of the Republic.
- It is essential to promote vocational education as an important factor to country’s economic development.
- To “Heritage” party the following objectives are of high priority: defining secondary education by constitution as a civil obligation, considering education dismissal as an illegal act in accordance with the law on education, safeguarding education right of children, who need extraordinary conditions for education in all cities and villages of the country and covering education costs for children of the disabled and other vulnerable families.
- All sources of corrupt affairs and practices in all layers of education should be fiercely struggled over.
Development of science
- The party believes that development of science is not just a matter of national dignity; it is a serious pledge to economic development.
- For the purpose of equipping scientific institutions with modern facilities, increasing remuneration of scientific workers, extending funds for development of scientific topics, it is necessary to gradually increase the allocation of funds therein up to 4%-5% of budget expenses, as well as find alternative financing solutions and sources for them. Development of applied science should be under special attention, considering it as an important guarantee for economic development of the country.
- Culture has played a leading role throughout the life of Armenian people not only on the level of general civilization but also from the point of national guardianship. Consequently, development of national culture through formation of relevant legislative framework should be a priority objective for the state, including creation of favorable conditions for satisfaction of residents’ cultural needs.
- Sport should be filtered from corruption, since it is one of the most important aspects of manifestation of Armenian citizens’ potential, health protection and ensured military efficiency. It is necessary to develop a complex state policy targeting development of sport. Increase, sport sector budget financing for the current 0.35% to 1%.
Other /Youth problems/
- supremacy of spiritual values over material;
- supremacy of freedom over non-freedom;
- supremacy of the law over arbitrariness;
- supremacy of democracy over autocracy.
- The party believes that future of the Republic of Armenia depends on the new generation. The youth should be brought up in the spirit of state and society of our dreams. The souls of Armenian youth should be implanted with:
Formation and development of civil society, including
Strengthening democratic institutes
- The party thinks that sufficient grounds have been put on paper in Armenia for establishment and consolidation of democratic institute. Nevertheless, the latter, first of all, requires political will of authorities and effective participation of the civil society. Practical enforcement of theoretical opportunities for consolidated democratic institutes should be one of the highest priorities of the coming legitimate authorities.
Ensuring freedom of speech and information
- Pursuant to the law on mass media the freedom in mass media activities shall not be restricted but instead – regulated, whilst regulation may not restrict the rights for receiving and disseminating information, freedom of speech and other basic freedoms of mass media representatives and journalists. Provision electronic means of communication should be maximum transparent.
- Develop a law on regulation of relations associated with the ownership of mass media, which will prohibit the right for ownership of TV companies by any party;
- Create favorable conditions for development of private mass media companies, simplify the licensing procedures for mass media companies, clearly define requirements;
- Increase the level of journalists’ social and legal protection;
- Create an independent commission for regulation and supervision of mass media activities with participation of all political forces present in National Assembly.
- It is necessary to:
Consolidating human rights and basic freedoms
- The opportunity for enjoying rights and freedoms stipulated by the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia should be guaranteed for everybody without gender, racial, skin color, language, religious, political and other forms of discrimination depending on the beliefs, social origin, national identity, financial status, place of birth, etc.
- The role of Ombudsman should be enhanced, creating proper legal and functional conditions to ensure its independent and impartial operation.
Reforming the judicial system
- Judicial reforms should target affordability of justice, creation of fair and impartial judicial power, which will be competent to ensure establishment of democracy and implementation of economic reforms.
Improving the election system
- Create competent, balanced election commissions;
- Ensure legal equality mechanisms among election units;
- Extract any opportunity of authorities to have influence over elections results;
- Establish real social supervision over election commission activities, complete transparency of election process;
- Gradually introduce the system of 100% proportional National Assembly elections;
- Define and enforce more stringent sanctions over crime against voting rights;
- Ensure equal conditions for all candidates in state funded mass media;
- Adopt and implement all-state program targeting enhancement of voting culture of citizens.
Sustaining political parties and developing the political field
- The party believes that it is necessary to ensure free, fair elections, which will promote revival and enlargement of political parties. Allot state financing to political parties or their coalitions, which have passed to the National Assembly in the amount of 100 million AMD annually, and 50 million AMD to parties who have surmounted the 3% threshold. Allow commercial banks to provide secured financing to political parties for election campaigns.
Increasing political responsibility of political parties and political figures
- Carry out absolute proportional National Assembly elections;
- Develop efficient mechanisms for recalling NA deputies.
Other /Enhancing efficient state administration/
- Decline the defective practice of serving the state administration for individual, group interests;
- Get oriented in its way to democratic power;
- Adopt the experience of being guided by public interests and realizing those interests;
- Operate in a transparent and public manner, open for everybody and in everybody’s spectacle, reporting and informing the public about its achievements and loopholes, undertakings, misdeeds and initiatives.
- The state politics machine should:
Obstacles to national security and ways to overcome them
- RA national security suggests freedom of citizens for complete performance in an internal and external environment protected from any type of threads and dangers to the society, which requires creation of effective and flexible security system. Objectives of national security should be in line with the principles of “complete self-governance for the state and excellent degree of freedom and protection of rights for the society and citizens”.
- RA national security includes the objective of ensuring safe life of Armenians all over the world, given the fact out the state territory Armenia there is also the Armenian Diaspora.
- With this regard, adoption of legislation comprising both general and specific professional norms for provision of national security, urgent revision of national security strategy in its all components, including military, foreign political, economic, information, food, energy, social, environmental security, etc, as well as adoption of laws on the above components.
Demographic problems and solutions thereto
- In order to overcome the demographic challenges, Armenia needs promoted fertility through protection of family, maternity and childhood, etc.
- It is necessary to:
- Create additional mechanisms for realization of labor rights of young families;
- Provide affordable housing conditions for young families by mortgage lending system through state housing construction programs;
- Define the size of maternal benefits in the amount of funds required for baby care, ensure protection of pregnant women, and regulate employer /pregnant women relations;
- Significantly increase benefits provided to each second and successor baby born in the family;
- Undertake other complex activities.
Environmental problems and solutions thereto
- The best policy of environmental protection is evasion of tense pesthole from the very beginning, rather than struggling against in the later,
- Republic of Armenia should formulate such legislative mechanisms, which will make undertaking of environmental activities profitable for entrepreneurs,
- In tax, investment and lending policies the state entities should demonstrate diversified treatment against initiatives contributing to environmental protection. It is hereby suggested to grant tax privileges over specialized enterprises engaged in production of environmentally-friendly products as compared to polluting producers. There should be diversified practice of collecting ecological fees.
Other /National army/
- As ensuring its security, the Republic of Armenia should lean against its own forces, and first of all, its own military forces, which anticipates overall military readiness, regardless of gender.
- The regular RA army is called to defend the borders of the country from external invasions; the army guarantees independence and territorial integrity of the state. As the need arises, the army may also serve to guarantee vital interests of Armenia beyond the state borders, in compliance with the defense-offensive provision of the Republic of Armenia.