WE ENCOUNTER REGRESS, GENTLEMEN!

A1+
[07:35 pm] 02 May, 2006

"Democracy has developed asymmetrically within the recent 14 years
in Armenia since the proclamation of independence. Though Armenia was
the first country among the Soviet former republics to put an end to
communists' power, the absence of the efficient system of checks and
balances, the centralization of the president's liabilities and the
lack of independent civil service paved a way for a weak governing
system and spread corruption," the 2005 review of "Freedom House"
organization begins with these words.

The organization deems the RA election procedure a serious obstacle
for democracy; "The public inconfidence to the election procedure was
determined by the high - rank officials' failure to hold democratic
elections." According to Ann Walker, the reporter of "Freedom House"
on Armenian issues, though the Constitution guarantees a number of
fundamental provisions for human rights protection, in fact there
are many obstacles hindering their efficient protection. "Judicial
system has little independence."

While speaking of the corruption deeply rooted in the country, Ann
Walker first of all laid the stress on official corruption. "The
close ties of the political and economic elites and the absence of
efficient law implementation give ground for official corruption."

The representatives of "Freedom House" maintain that the discord
between the Government and the Opposition will still strengthen at the
turn of the year; on the eve of 2007 elections. The organized attached
importance to the role of mass media in establishing democracy in
the country and mentioned that the Armenian media turned "from half
independent" to "half dependent" in the course of 2002 - 2003. "The
main free Armenian TV channel "A1+" was embattled in 2002 and was
unable to resume its frequency license. The members of the Commission
on television and radio are so far appointed by President Kocharyan."

The representatives of "Freedom House" stated at the end of their
review that they held a thorough survey taking into consideration
their meetings with the Government, political figures, NGOs and
representatives of mass media. By the way, certain journalists inquired
about the results of the Armenian observation in comparison with the
Georgian and Azeri ones. As it turns out, there has been progress in
Georgia in connection with democracy, whereas the state of Azerbaijan
is worse than that of Armenia.

This is a real consolation for Armenia.