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Satik Seyranyan: “I want my child to live in a normal country.”

Satik Seyranyan, Chief Editor of “168 Zham” newspaper, has been nominated to run as a candidate in constituency No 4. During our discussion we tried to clarify why a woman with an enjoyable job and loving family wants to take on the additional responsibilities of a member of the National Assembly.  


–          Mrs. Seyranyan, Why did you decide to be nominated as a candidate for Member of Parliament?


I have been working in the media for around twenty years, and have been Chief Editor of “168 Zham” for the last 8 years. In other words I have been unconsciously working in the field of politics, in essence, each day. From that perspective, participating in the parliamentary elections is really just a change in the format of the politics and the political mandate, a change in the political instrument. I have not taken the decision to be nominated easily, believe me. In the first place, only after clarifying numerous issues within myself, did I decide to be nominated for constituency No.4: Arabkir, where I was born, was brought up and live to this day. The reason for my decision is that I want to live in this country. I have never been an unconcerned citizen. As a journalist and editor I have always been by the people’s side and the readers of “168 Zham” can attest to that. If to-date I have drawn people’s attention to the important issues in the country in my professional capacity as a journalist and editor, then, after being elected MP, I hope to have direct participation in the resolution of those issues.


–          Should you be elected, you will have one mandate in parliament and, at least at present, you do not have a team. How will you succeed to influence the decision making process with only one mandate?


Unfortunately the political system in Armenia works with the same logic that is in your question, where it is not the individual or person who is of importance but small groupings and their interests. First of all, by being nominated I am fighting against that mentality and believe me, I will break that stereotype. Do you remember how the authorities were interpreting the rejection by the opposition of a change-over to a 100% proportional representation system? The main argument was that with this, the right of the individual would be limited as, if an individual does not wish to become a member of a political party, with this, they would be deprived of the right to be in politics. Now let the authorities prove how true those declarations were. As for decision-making, I assure you that even one person can change much, more so in a small country like Armenia.  Moreover as an independent member of parliament elected by the majority electoral system, I will not have any restraints in the National Assembly when joining or discussing any sound initiative.


–          Will you continue working as editor should you be elected?


Although I have been nominated by the majority voting system, I do not belong to any political party. However I believe that at the same time being a political figure and continuing to be a journalist would not be proper. The reader would not be able to perceive me as an unbiased journalist, editor. In other words, in that case I would not be honest towards my professional principles or the reader. Therefore I would not continue as the paper’s editor if I were to be elected.


–          After the changes in the electoral code, there seemed to b e a deficit of women in the political parties. They were all looking for trained women to include in their pre-election lists. You would get into parliament much more easily on a proportional list. Why have you chosen the more difficult route?


Of course it would have been easier to be included in any party’s proportional list and as you said, find myself in the National Assembly. However, firstly I do not see any political force that I could subscribe to. I am an independent, have never belonged to any party and want to try my own strengths. Apart from that I do not want to “find” myself in the NA, but to be elected as a member of parliament in the NA. These are fundamentally different things. I want to speak to people, to hear once again the issues that concern them. In Armenia, of course, other traditions have been created. Frequently, people have never even seen their representative’s face. Very few candidates for MP ever have meetings with them. This refers to members of parliament “elected” by both proportional representation and majority electoral systems. A very interesting battle may take place in the 4th electoral district, as one of the competitors has already begun their electoral campaign (prior to the start of the official electoral campaign). They are handing out gifts for March 8, and cash for manicures and pedicures. I read in one of the media outlets that they were handing out Bulgarian perfume and sweets past their expiry date. In other words, it is already clear that on May 8th I will be competing against money, not against an individual or a party, and even less so, an ideology. We are all aware that, as a rule, representatives “elected” by those methods, forget their voters in the subsequent 5 years. They consider that a deal has been struck, they have paid up, bought the votes and they have no claim or debt towards each other.  Five years later, once again the same people come and buy “votes.” The voters must understand this by now and reject such deals. I hope that the people of Arabkir will not allow them to buy their votes for a period of five years, all for one day’s worth of food, or a few kilograms of sausage (past its expiry date at that).


–          A discriminatory attitude can still be seen towards women in Armenia.


In Armenia, as in many other countries, there was that stereotype that women should be in the kitchen and should only be involved with household cares. The world has changed and is changing every day. Gradually in Armenia also they are beginning to think differently. That attitude has retreated considerably. Women are included in business and in politics and are occupied in civic activities. It’s simply that there is a lack of solidarity amongst women. In Armenia, there is more solidarity between men. It would be good if women were more in harmony and supported each other. Women can play an important role in the resolution of all the issues that concern the public.


–          The public know the editor, Satik Seyranyan. What is the political figure, Satik Seyranyan going to be like?


She is going to be just as she was, and is, as a journalist, editor and citizen.


–          You have recently given birth to an infant. How will you combine caring for it and your political activities?


Our son, Aram is the brightest point in our life. The birth of a child is truly a miracle, but at the same time it makes you consummately more responsible about everything, any step you may take. You start to reconsider everything. The birth of a child also elicits different fears. I will use the simplest, human, maternal words: I want my child to live in a normal country. I want him to learn at a good school, to live in a healthy society, be surrounded by good people… When I think about all this, the question arises unwittingly, “and what can I do to bring about such an Armenia?” Should I allow this situation to continue, where practically illiterate people come to power and draft laws and decide a whole society’s destiny? With the birth of my child I found new energy and realised that, as a person who is not unconcerned about this country, I have to take action. Unknowingly, advantageous conditions were being created for this. As far as the care of my child is concerned, my older sister is helping me. We are four siblings and we help each other all the time, and stand through thick and thin for each other. My older sister has been by my side from the first day of Aram’s birth. I can combine certain work concerning the paper and the care of the baby and cooking. In the first place, as a mother I want to do more for my child that simply give him maternal care and attention, because I know that today in Armenia there are thousands of children who are deprived of even the basic opportunity for care.


Arman Gharibyan

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