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Thursday, 13 November 2008

Armenian opposition’s “specialised committees”

This very brief news report on meeting held by the opposition Armenian National Congress is lacking details but informative nevertheless. It was decided by the opposition to form “specialised committees” on various aspects of life for the country – foreign policy, economy, legal system etc. They would aim to develop and present to the Congress policies and expert opinions for their relevant fields and on current issues.

I’ve been long in favour of a ‘shadow cabinet’ system (similar to the one operated in the UK by opposition parties) or something along the same line by its essence. It’s been a while that opposition hinted on the idea, and with this announcement on forming “specialised committees” it seems to me they are moving towards that direction, and aim to use the declared hiatus for organisational reforms and developments.

I’d like to see clear policy alternatives for all the important fields of life in Armenia, be that internal or external. I’d like to see people/teams responsible for those fields. These will be the policies and people who – in case of opposition coming to the power – will replace existing policies and people. This will help establishing new culture of transparency of political parties, minimise populism, and contribute to informed decisions made by the electorate, things which are lacking in current Armenia. Assuming, of course, that the policy recommendations (and specialised team members) will not remain ‘for internal consumption only’ but rather result in publicised policy formulations. Providing, of course, that the electorate will be able to exercise its election right which is lacking in current Armenia.

3 comments:

Haik said...

This is definitly a long waited. Although I would like to mention that ANC had started the shadowing process from Osetian war times. Not to repeat what I have already written please see: http://www.blog.payqar.org/?p=365

Onnik Krikorian said...

Well, I'm all for more democratic structures in political parties in Armenia and especially if it means adopting a more issue rather than personality based party structure.

As it is, I suppose Heritage have gone part of the way already, although much of the discussion of issues is undertaken through ACNIS. It's also not often that we hear about Raffi Hovannisian these days.

Instead we hear more from others in the party such as Stepan Safarian and Zaruhi Postanjian.

ARF-D are another party based on ideology rather than personality although, of course, there is never room left for any discussion or change on Hai Tahd issues which remain locked in the past.

Anyway, let's see if this lives up to your hopes, but if it does, it is a positive move. I'd also like to see congresses televised as they are in the U.K., although of course, I understand that this is more a problem with the broadcast media here.

Regardless, if we can get away from personality-driven politics, it's a development I can be happy about. Incidentally, you might be interested in this document:

Armenia Political Party Assessment

It will be interesting to discover how involved the National Democratic Institute (NDI)have been involved behind the scenes. This is the kind of work they engage in with both opposition and government parties.

As democracy is more than just elections -- it is also requires political parties to be internally democratic as well as many other things -- it's about time the whole process became transparent.

emma said...

The move is definitely positive. I think the basic criteria for the election of the members to this body should be professionalism and honesty.