Distinguished Members of the National Assembly,
I once again congratulate the Republican Party of Armenia, Tsarukian Alliance of political parties, Elq Alliance of political parties, and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation on assuming their share of political responsibility for the Republic of Armenia for the next five years. It happened through the free and transparent elections which were highly praised. I congratulate all participants of the first session of the 6th National Assembly and wish you productive work.
Two years ago, when the concept of the RA constitutional reforms was being approved, I was confident that soon we would enter a groundbreaking period of time which would be promising but also challenging. That day has come, and I congratulate us all on that occasion. And I congratulate you, dear parliamentarians, twofold since on this critical stage you are to make the first and most important step towards the establishment of a new state system of governance. We all realize that there is much work to be done but we have resolve, great optimism, and enduring experience of many years to bring our task to a successful end.
Certainly, the laws pertaining to the priority functions of the Parliament have already been created, the laws which should not only be legally correct but also functional and coherent. Constitutional reforms cannot be fully carried out without such laws. Some would say, it’s better to have a deficient law than no law at all. It is a minimalistic approach, and for me it is unacceptable. At this most serious period of time, when the country is going through legal and political changes, we cannot afford such luxury. Deficient or bad laws are not only unapplicable but also harmful. Your mission is to create laws which will meet the expectations of the public; you, as the main actors of this process, are responsible for the task.
However, activities of the legislature are not limited to adopting legislation. Transition to the parliamentary system of governance, which is stipulated by the changes introduced to the RA Constitution, entails a considerably greater role of the parliament also in foreign policy issues.
From this point of view, the priority should be given to the introduction of the principles aimed at the enhancement of parliamentary diplomacy as well as implementation of concrete steps and actions. It is obvious that nowadays Armenia should intensify her actions at the international parliamentary organizations and come up with new initiatives. International parliamentary organizations are the best and probably the largest platform for introducing different idea to the international community and presenting the views of the Armenian side. It is necessary to conduct active politics in the framework of that platform to reduce the number of the anti-Armenian resolutions and projects regularly instigated by Azerbaijan, promoting instead the truth.
It is expedient to re-organize our parliamentary diplomacy to make it more efficient laying its foundation on the following principles: participation, initiative, partnership, constant ongoing work, accountability, coordination, personal responsibility, continuity, and consistency. This is indeed a vast and important area of work, which we will revisit later.
As a result of the amendments made to the Main Law, the parliament is from now on entitled to form constituonal bodies endowed with important and extensive functions. Constituonal Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court Council – these are the new and significant justice structures which will be formed through your direct participation. It is the greatest popular and democratic trust which is given to form independent and professional judicial authority. At the same time, you will be responsible for the results – positive as well as negative – of these bodies’ activities.
I also envision a law enforcement structure – robust and cooperative, strong and ready to assume responsibility. To promote the development of that structure is everybody’s duty. Only structure like that will allow for everyone – the state, the entire society, and every member of it, to feel strong and safe, and in the development of such structure you, through your control and containment functions, are to play the pivotal role.
Appointment of Prosecutor General and Ombudsman, formation of autonomous bodies and investigation commissions: these are constitutional tools whose utilization allows the parliament to participate directly or indirectly in the improvement of the law enforcement structure, or rather to say, law upholding structure. Consistency of each parliamentarian and constant parliamentary control should result in transparency and public accountability of the structure becoming an established practice, a workstyle. I am sure you realize that.
At the same time, I would like to invite your attention to an important issue: We have said on many occasions that the amended Constitution will enhance the role of the political parties in our public life. We have also stressed that that ideologically like- minded people will be the driving force behind these parties. However, as the President of the country and as the head of the largest political structure, I urge all political forces represented at the National Assembly while electing individuals dealing with the justice or law enforcement systems or in formation of such bodies to be guided by the principle “he or she is a professional” rather than “he or she is a confederate.” Only based on this approach we can ensure a viable justice system.
I would also like to underscore that such a system will be successful only if there is intolerance towards corruption. No doubt, the face of corruption today has changed.
Gradually it becomes more visible and vulnerable. The state continues to enroot in the minds of the society and individuals the culture of “zero tolerance towards corruption”. But we cannot be content with the exiting results. We need to improve the institutionalized anti-corruption system and ensure its consistent development. We all realized that otherwise all initiatives are doomed to failure.
“Honesty plus professionalism minus corruption” – this is the desired formula of success. Here, we have to rely on experts. Corruption is appealing to the amateurs; to the professionals it is disgusting, repealing, and simply lossmaking.