REFERENDUM ON CUSTOMS UNION MEMBERSHIP WOULD BE FORMALITY FOR ARMENIA, SAYS EXPERT

18:24 ~U 25.09.13

In an interview with Tert.am, the political engineer Armen Badalyan has
ruled out the need of a referendum on the Customs Union membership. He
has considered the move a useless formality for a country like Armenia.

Mr Badalyan, the analyses in the press say the authorities are
unwilling to rely on a referendum, citing Article 55 of Armenia's
Constitution, which says the foreign policies in the Republic of
Armenia are implemented by the president.

The part of the active civil society, which is against Armenia's
accession to the Customs Union, would, of course, vote against the
[plan] but the authorities would manage to extort 20-, 30-fold votes
in favor of the Customs Union, and by the way, [from people who would
cast their votes] without reading the text and analyzing whether it is
good or bad, necessary or not. They [would succeed in that] by putting
just a few thousand drams into people's pockets, so those people would
vote as they are instructed to. Why should they conduct a referendum
in situations like this? A referendum bears a formal character.

You were, by the way, among the first to say that nobody is waiting
for us in either the EU or the Customs Union.

They aren't really waiting because Armenia does not have the economic
potential to bring about qualitative changes to the Customs Union
in case of joining it. The situation with Ukraine is completely
different; it has a huge economic potential. So Russia wishes it
to join the customs area. As for Armenia, hadn't it chosen the
Association Agreement, nobody would have probably made us accede to
the Customs Union.

The Prosperous Armenia party does not make haste to express any
opinion regarding the Customs Union, unlike, for example, the Armenian
Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaksutyun, which this time was in favor
[of the idea].

First, that was supposed to be the de jure answer. Unless a political
party sees all the documents it will remain silent. This is the de
jure answer, but the de facto answer is that everybody - both at
home and abroad - realized that Russia has the authority to not only
implement the foreign policies of Armenia but also resolve domestic
policy issues. And when I declare I am against the Customs Union,
I am against [Vladimir] Putin, not the president of Armenia.

Why do you think Prosperous Armenia's position would be negative?

Things aren't definitely clear. It is very common to say they are
a pro-Russian party and that's being done for propaganda purposes,
whereas Armenia pursues neither pro-Western, nor pro-European and
nor even pro-American ideologies. What we have in Armenia are two
ideologies: you are either for or against the ruling authorities. We
do not have any other ideologies.

Armenian News - Tert.am




From: A. Papazian