Wednesday, 28 October 2020

E Editorial

The program of Armenia's new government: what does the "political will of the government" mean?

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The government of Armenia submitted its program to the National Assembly. It is gratifying that the public of the country, which somehow eschewed the expression of opinions on the draft state budget of 2019, this time actively joined in the discussion of the government program. So far, critical assessments are most noticeable. There are undoubtedly grounds for such criticism - many positions of the program are too declarative.

We are, at the moment, interested in the very philosophy of the government, reflecting the vision of the problem of rooting the atmosphere of universal law in the country. It turns out that "the key factor in solving the problem of universal equality before the law is the political will of the government." It seems that here we are dealing with some ideological innovation, the essence of which is to understand before it is too late.

Indeed, can the political will of the government guarantee the rule of law in the country? It is generally accepted that the rule of law is ensured by law enforcement agencies, primarily by the system of independent justice. The state, in fact, is the territory where the law is established and where, by a court decision, the right to use force against violators of the law is the exclusive right of the relevant state institutions. That is, not by the will of the government, but by a judicial system independent of the will of the government, the universal equality of people before the law is ensured.

But, apparently, the new authorities of Armenia have their own idea of guarantees of universal law in the country. In their view, not the law itself, but “good” officials are such guarantors. This, sometimes even openly, is spoken by senior officials. They declare that it is not bad or good laws that are important, but the personal qualities of those who apply these laws in their state practice. That is, it’s not the law, but loyalty to the ideals of the revolution and the state. Apparently, the notion of "political will of the government" comes down to this. Whether they themselves believe what they are talking about is difficult to determine. But it would be better for everyone if they did not believe it. After all, it turns out that the problem of ensuring equality of members of the government before the law is also solved by the political will of the government. Accordingly, the judicial system is an unnecessary institution in the state. Some residual philosophy from the practice of monarchy: the sovereign is the king and judge at the same time. Otherwise, it is impossible to understand the logic of the authorities.

Of course, the older generation of people saw something like this in the former Soviet Union. And there as well it was suggested to society that the guarantor of the rule of law is the conscience of the members of the ruling Communist Party and their devotion to the ideals of the state. And all state institutions, such as elections, the judicial system, etc., are merely mechanisms for ensuring the ideals of the state (note - that not universal equality before the law). Many people remember what this led to: the atmosphere of general powerlessness of citizens towards the ruling party was established in the country. The institution of repression has become an instrument of regulation of state life. Political will was reduced to voluntarism - subjective ideas about the ideals of the state replaced state law. The more committed to these ideals were members of the ruling party, the more repressive were their actions towards citizens.

It is strange that those who put forward the problem of establishing the atmosphere of universal rule of law in the country as a key goal of the velvet revolution have such archaic ideas about the law. We hope that society will be able to convince them to reconsider these ideas.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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Yerevan, Armenia


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