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Stakes High for Armenia's New Government
Gallup Blog

Stakes High for Armenia's New Government

by Steve O'Brien and Julie Ray

In the wake of Armenia's "Velvet Revolution" last April that set the country on a path to democratic change, Armenia has stepped up efforts to improve its ties with the European Union, which it sees as a key partner in plans for reform. The two sides meet June 13 for the second-ever EU-Armenia Partnership Council to discuss the progress of reform so far -- particularly in the areas of governance and the rule of law -- and the future of their relationship.

They will have a lot to talk about. The survey data that Gallup collected a few months after the revolution show Armenians were already seeing improvement on some of the prerequisites for the success of these reforms, but definitely not all.

Government Corruption Falls, Confidence Rises

After peaceful protests led to the ouster of longtime leader Serzh Sargsyan, Armenians' confidence in their new national government skyrocketed to a record-high 67%. Throughout Sargsyan's tenure, confidence never ventured higher than the 46% reading during his first year as president. Sargsyan's personal job approval rating during his last year as president in 2017 was just 26%.

Line graph. After Armenia’s revolution in 2018, confidence in the national government soared to a record-high 67%.

Part of the appeal of Armenia's new government has been its aggressive crackdown on corruption, which has led to a series of high-profile political arrests. While a sizable 41% of Armenians still see widespread corruption in their government, this perception is at the lowest level in Gallup's historical trend. Until last year, no less than 70% saw corruption as widespread in their government.

Line graph. A record-low 41% of Armenians said in 2018 that corruption was widespread in their government.

At the same time, Armenians haven't seen as much progress in fighting corruption in business -- which could impede the country's progress in reaching its goal of creating a more competitive environment for doing business. While down 10 percentage points from 2017, the majority of Armenians (62%) in 2018 still see corruption as widespread in business.

Confidence in Judiciary Remains Lackluster

One area targeted for reform that has seen little perceived improvement is the country's courts. Slightly more than one in three Armenians (34%) in 2018 said they are confident in the country's judicial system, up only marginally from 29% the previous year. The new government has announced plans for reforms of the justice sector, but at the time of the survey, Armenians' confidence had changed very little.

 Line graph. Armenians’ confidence in their judiciary remained relatively low at 34% in 2018.

Bottom Line

The reform process in Armenia is still in its early stages. The stakes are incredibly high for Armenia's new government, which has very publicly committed itself to democracy-building and modernizing the country. But equally high are Armenians' expectations for their new leadership. The government needs only to look to the situations in Ukraine and Georgia to see what happens when revolution and promises don't translate into lasting reforms.

For complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

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