Problems of Development of State Government and Local Self-Government in Armenia

The efficiency of public administration is largely conditioned by the optimal division
of powers and functions between the branches of power, which will enable to provide some
appropriate mechanisms for checks and balances between them. At the same time, the
efficiency of state government and local self-government is affected by extremely dynamic
and mutually interrelated factors of internal and external environments, such as economic
situation, political stability, or international relations.
In these circumstances it becomes necessary to monitor and evaluate the
effectiveness of the public administration, and, if necessary, to implement reforms of the
system. The authors of the current paper have been in pursuit of a goal to assess the
effectiveness of public administration and local self-government and to identify the
problems to be solved, which can result in the further development of the components of
public administration. Within the framework of this research peculiarities of perception of
public administration in Armenia have been studied, the organizational efficiency of
executive and legislative powers have been assessed, the relationship between the state
government and local self-government bodies, the corresponding distribution of powers and
their compliance with the financial resources have been analyzed, the problems of intermunicipal cooperation, enlargement policies as well as opportunities and obstacles of the
direct participation of citizens in local self-government have been unveiled.
Since the formation of state governance bodies among ancient civilizations people
have always been trying to reveal some ways of improvement of relationships between the
state and the “consumers” and the tools of public administration as well. In the modern era
of democracy, human rights and the approach of total participation in public policy, the
modern sense of public administration supposes four main groups of everyday participants:
state governance bodies, LSG bodies, non-profit organizations, and media. The former two
are the primary participants, while the influence by latter two is indirect, so those are
considered secondary participants. But the existence of those secondary participants is vital
for the whole system of public administration. Civil society is the main term describing the
capability of the environment within the country to form public administration institutions.
In RA it is one the primary issues to discuss and generate solutions. So some observations

are made to evaluate the capabilities of civic society in RA by its legal, institutional and
public terms, and reveal the main barriers. It’s obvious that today we can’t speak about
totally formed civil society in Armenia. But it is also important to realize that in modern
conditions the majority of civil society is acting in virtual environment. This informal
internet civil society is even more efficient than the activity of formal organizations. Some
international comparison is also made to evaluate the relative achievements of Armenian
non-profit organizations and media by the means of their freedom and participation
capacities.
The efficiency of executive branch is of main importance, because the executive
bodies are responsible for the results of public administration as a service. By these means
the structure and its suitability to the functions of the government are subject of
observation. It is also important to realize that the quantitative methods of efficiency
evaluation are very difficult, as they must be very inclusive and somehow merge its
economic, social, environmental aspects. These kinds of combinations are usually
misleading and might indicate either some particular points of public administration or just
nothing both by measurement unit and by logics. This makes sense to focus on financial
issues of public administration, especially the executive bodies of state governance. As a
result, the efficiency of executive bodies could be divided into three components: structural
efficiency, functional efficiency and financial efficiency. The structural evolution and its
reasons are observed with all the details. The functional map of executive bodies is created
to reveal and show the main shortcomings of the Armenian government system.
The primary indicator for measuring the financial efficiency of public administration
is the total sum of costs made to guarantee the existence of the system. In other words,
people and organizations input something to the system of public administration by
taxation and other means. The most of this “contribution” is to be spent for the core
functions of the state, but some amount is paid just to form and keep the structure and the
human resources. The observation of dynamics and structure of these costs gives
opportunity to reveal the main reserves of improvement. About 8.5% of all costs of state
budget are made to keep the bodies of public administration. A very strong co-variation is
also revealed between the total costs of state budget and the costs made to keep the state
structure. This means that those costs are being made not “by needs” but “by
opportunities”, which is a huge shortcoming for the financial efficiency. The wages paid to
public servants and particularly civil servants are of interest as well as their number.
International comparisons are also made by these figures to find out the possible minimal
amount of servants to be involved in state governance bodies and at the same time being
capable to serve the maximal public service. One of the most interesting indicators is the
total costs of state budget divided to the total number of civil servants. The methodological
difficulty is the existence of two opposite explanations of that indicator: either we must try
to minimize that criterion to achieve low costs made per single servant or we must try to
maximize it to achieve a situation of a big budget executed by a small number of servants.
The distribution and redistribution of incomes within public administration system
is an important issue to achieve a normally acting system of LSG, in which case all the LSG
bodies could be financially and professionally capable to execute their functions efficiently.
So an attempt is made to use some basic tools like Lorenz curve and Gini coefficient to measure the possible improvements of income distribution and redistribution among
communities.
The activities of the legislative body, the formation of the representative body, their
functions, internal organizational issues, the relationships between govenrmental bodies
have always been in the axis of the political reality and in the constitutional doctrine.
Democratization tendencies in the society, political system and governmental bodies
mainly depend on the steps and the activities of the commonwealth representatives and on
the level of the development of the parliamentarism. Gradually, in the Republic of Armenia
new governmental institutions have been establsihed on the basics of democracy. The
existing institutions were improved and became more modern and the political system
became more stable. The new parliament elected by the nation in 1990 had a huge impact
on the formation of new value system. After decleration of its independence, the Republic
of Armenia establsihed a completely new governemntal system and the legislative body got
fundamentally new role. During the past 22 years the parliament has had drastic changes; it
was improved and the new competences and functions were defined taking into
consideration the principles which were typical to a legislative and democratic country.
In 1918–1920 the parliament and parliamentarism in Armenia made their first steps;
moreover, the functions of legislativ and governing bodies were seperated. Already in 1991
when the third republic was established a more democratic model of government was
developed. Now the Republic of Armenia National Assembly is considered to be the
inheritor of RA parliamentarism. RA National Assembly which is the important part of the
state government system carries out the supreme legislative authority. The National
Assembly plays an important role not only in the social and political life of the society and
promotes the establishment of legislative, democratic and social government but it also
reviews and regulates important social relationships enriching and developing the legislation
of RA and its state and legal practice.
Being a representative body and receiving mandate from citizens the national
assembly through supervision is counterbalancing the state government and implies
balancing and suppressing mechanisms set by Constitution. Therefore, this research aims at
overall analysis of the functions of the legislative body as well. The efficiency of the
activities of the state government mainly depends on the state apparatus, on the level of the
capacity of the staff, on the level of receiving and analysis of the information and how well
the given state body is equipped with modern technology. This part of research tries to
present the evolution of the changes of the organizational system of the legislative body, its
development revealing the main barriers of its efficiency.
Local self-government is one of the integral components of the public
administration. Various subjects should play a role in local self-government bodies’ capacity
building. The state (central) government bodies have a primary and a crucial role in this
process. Through the decentralization of power and by making it closer to people the state
must ensure the appropriate capacities for the utilization of that power. To describe the
phenomenon of local self-government a number of theories are discussed in this research,
which reveal the role and importance of the local self-government in public administration
system.
Financial and human resources of most municipalities don’t allow them to
implement public services which are vested in them. There is a need for inter-municipal

cooperation concerning water supply, power supply, scavenging, waste disposal, tax
collection for local budgets and other matters. Such cooperation is also important in terms
of the increase in management efficiency as separate municipalities simply can’t solve
administrative problems that arise in their territories. The reason is that they don’t have
any experience and, besides that, they don’t have enough financial resources to invite
highly qualified specialists. Although the Law on Local Self-government in the Republic of
Armenia defines that municipalities can form inter-municipal unions for joint solution of
problems and for cutting down expenses, not a single case of formation of any union has
been fixed yet. Thereupon two main obstacles on the way of formation and operation of
inter-municipal unions can be noted: lack of financial resources and shortcoming of
legislation. Inter-municipal unions should also serve as a directory for further administrative-territorial reforms, which in our opinion will bring to the administrative extension of
municipalities as a final result.
Currently, one of the necessary conditions of local self-government is to ensure that
residents are participating in the process of management of their community, especially in
the budgeting process. Data was collected through the thorough investigation of legislation
of RA, the reports that come from the municipalities regarding the issue and also with the
help of particular surveys. During the analysis it was revealed that despite the existence of
different means and ways prescribed by law, the publicity of the local budgets is still not
provided at the appropriate level in our country. In many cases, the relevant requirements
of the law are simply not met. In this regard, the paper proposes to find the interested
stakeholders, who are ready to work together to achieve the objectives.

Author: SUVARYAN YURI MIQAEL, R.A. HAYRAPETYAN, S.A. ASATRYANTS, T.S. MNATSAKANYAN