Armenian PM offers dialogue to opponents of unpopular pension reform

Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan today invited members of a pressure group campaigning against the new pension reform to dialogue.

Addressing his Cabinet, Sargsyan acknowledged that the law on mandatory pension contributions under which all working citizens of Armenia born after 1973 must pay an additional 5-10 percent of their salaries to privately owned pension funds may, indeed, have shortcomings.

The statement came just three days before members of the civil initiative supported by opposition parties plan to hold a rally in Yerevan. The stated goal of the rally is to show widespread public discontent with the law before the Constitutional Court is to start proceedings on its constitutionality later in March following an application by leading opposition parties.

In his public speech last month, while defending the reform, President Serzh Sargsyan acknowledged that up to 80 percent of citizens in Armenia might be against it. He also said that there could be some omissions in the law that needed to be rectified, but stressed that overall the new pension reform is good for the country in the long term.

During Wednesday’s government meeting Prime Minister Sargsyan also said that the government should take into account the opinion of civil society.