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Serzh Sargsyan's inaugural address

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Inaugural address of Serzh Sargsyan as president on April 9, 2008

Distinguished President Kocharyan,

Your Holiness,

Fellow Citizens of the Republic of Armenia,

Dear Friends,

Today is an extremely responsible day for me. A few minutes ago, I swore an oath to our people to unconditionally follow the provisions of our Constitution. On this historic day, we all swear an oath: I do it aloud, and ask you to do it silently. I am confident that each of you has an oath of your own to serve our fatherland and people.

We all swear this oath for a brighter future of our country, for development, for democracy, for the rule of law, for a stronger and more prosperous Armenia.

May the Lord give me strength to not disappoint anyone of my supporters! May the Lord give us all strength to overcome difficulties, to find the cure for all the problems that worry the disappointed or disillusioned ones, the ones who today need hope, faith, and optimism.

Dear compatriots, dear guests;

I recognize the enormous responsibility I have assumed. I know that I will be the one whom you will consider responsible for everything. I pledge not to avoid the responsibility, the magnitude of which I realized when joining the Republican Party and declaring that I would agree to be nominated for the presidential elections only in case the Republican Party won the largest number of votes in the parliamentary elections. I realize the magnitude of the responsibility now, and I shall recognize it every day for the next five years. I shall bear with honor the responsibility of being the President of all citizens of the Republic of Armenia.

On this day, I wish to thank my supporters, all the individuals that have voted for my program. I am grateful for the confidence. I assure you that together we can improve life in our country. Today, I call for a change. Once again, we are proclaiming a new beginning for change. Everyone must be ready to start change from one’s own self.

A part of our people supported other candidates, and I now appeal to them: it was your right to vote for someone other than me, but I do not have the right not to be your president. We should not part, should not create division between various parts of our people, should not disregard each other’s concerns and pain, and should not go beyond each other’s reach. Even if a wall of misunderstanding stands between us, I urge you to join us in eliminating that wall.

I express my gratitude to President Robert Kocharyan, a man who will have a solid place in the Armenian history, as the decade of his presidency were years of significant achievements for our country, achievements based on which we have set ambitious targets for the future. President Kocharyan has performed an invaluable role in the establishment, advancement, and protection of the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh. I am confident that generations will duly appreciate his service and contribution to the development and strengthening of our statehood.

Dear Friends:

Although the election campaign was intense and did not do without insults, I wish to thank my opponents for the struggle, with a special thank you to those who admitted their defeat with dignity, those who reciprocated the extended hand of cooperation and accepted the offer to come together to develop the Republic of Armenia.

I shall remain committed to all of my pre-election promises, and we shall join our efforts in fulfilling them.

We shall build the Armenia that brings together all Armenians, one that will be the fatherland of any Armenian.

We shall build the Armenia where mutual respect, love, and tolerance will prevail.

We shall build the Armenia where our citizens and families will live and realize their potential in security and dignity.

We shall carry out a proactive foreign policy, and do everything to find a just, peaceful, and favorable solution to the Artsakh issue.

We shall build a strong, proud, and democratic state of Armenia, where everyone shall be equal before the law.

I am confident that you, our fellow Armenians and friends, also hold the key to the success of all of our initiatives. To accomplish this historic mission, I once again urge us to unite. Unity will be the platform for fundamental value creation and progress along the path of democracy and freedoms.

I shall do all of this, because I wish to be a president who will fully implement his program, bring peace and stable development to Armenia, enhance the reputation and image of our country, overcome all of the major problems we currently face, and be capable of foreseeing and responding to all of the potential challenges. This is the type of President I can and shall be.

I am ready to contribute all my strength for an atmosphere of confidence to prevail in our society, for us to overcome any polarization, rough confrontation, and discredit. Alone, no one can turn Armenia into a country of dreams. All structures, various political and non-governmental forces, and civil society need to unite. This is where the President should act as the key actor in uniting the nation, a man who must use all the tools and mechanisms of power available to him in order to promote the best ideas and to preserve, develop, and put to the best use our country’s most precious capital, our human resources.

I shall seek ways of cooperating with all the political forces. My efforts will focus on achieving the nation-wide objectives, strengthening the link between generations, combining the interests of different social groups, ensuring respect for ethnic minorities, and preserving the Armenian identity.

I shall encourage a change of attitude towards the intelligentsia in our country. It is long time for the state to treat seriously our culture, scientific and educational potential, and every individual engaged in intellectual and creative work.

I shall make my humble contribution to the strengthening of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which will continue to remain a pillar of the Armenian soul and national identity.

Dear Friends:

This ceremony takes place about a month after painful events, which inflicted wounds that are still fresh. These wounds caused pain and bitterness to all of us. Today, I urge to look forward, together to seek and find the path of reconciliation, that of development for the Armenia of future. I am confident that we cannot have real and tangible success, unless we learn lessons from the past. What happened should teach all of us a lesson of vigilance and sobriety, compelling us to work with greater vigor and devotion.

Unchecked freedom can result in conflict with the public interests and the rights of others. To prevent such conflicts and to reconcile various rights and interests, the state may interfere with the exercise of certain fundamental rights.

Limitations of fundamental rights, however, cannot be absolute, as they would simply render the fundamental right meaningless. Limitations should not undermine the essence of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

For any limitation of rights and freedoms, including the right to peaceful assembly, we must strike a fair balance between the public order and respect for the rights and freedoms of others, on the one hand, and the right to peaceful assembly, on the other.

Over a short period of time, along with dozens of other laws, we should revisit the legislation regulating the right to peaceful assembly with a view to safeguarding everyone’s right to peaceful assembly in accordance with European standards and precluding any public event that is either not peaceful or does not pursue a legitimate aim.

Dear friends:

Our people have given me their vote of confidence, and I must implement my program during the next five years. Our people have confided in me to overcome the challenges faced by our country and to meet everyone’s expectations. Five years is a rather short period to do all of this, hence it will be a period of everyday hard work. During this time, we shall manage to do what is possible and beyond, to address the development challenges faced by our country. That is why I consider this ceremonial day a working day for me and my political team.

So thank you, and let us get down to work!

Let us get down to work, and forward, Armenia!