Friday, March 09, 2007

Typical Armenian Politics

I haven't written about politics in a while, and with Armenia's parliamentary elections coming up in May I felt compelled to discuss it but I didn't come across anything noteworthy until now.

A recent article by Armenialiberty,
http://www.armenialiberty.org/armeniareport/report/en/2007/03/0F792B69-ADA7-4E35-9F89-EDD4AC7ED0C7.ASP

It talks about the reasons why the Armenian opposition failed to coaelesce in contesting May's elections. Since the situation is a bit complex, allow me to provide a brief context of the big players:

Raffi Hovannisian-former foreign minister of Armenia. Head of the Zharangutyun (Heritage) Party. Outspoken member of the opposition.

Stepan Demirchian-son of the Soviet era Armenia leader, Karen Demirchian (also former presidential candidate in 1998 and later speaker of the National Assembly, was assasinated along with Vasken Sargsyan). Stepan is the leader of the People's Party of Armenia.

Artarutyun (Justice) Alliance-The main opposition block. Made up of several parties, including Stepan Demirchian's people's party. Recently disbanded.

Vazgen Manukian-head of National Democratic Union.

Aram Sarkisian-Former Prime Minister. Head of the Republic Party (not RepubliCAN party, these are the guys in power). Brother of Vazgen Sargsyan (former Prime Minister, assasinated).

This is just a portion of all the members of the opposition, as you can see there are so many parties, which makes it obvious for them to join, right? Well, this is when things get complicated.

Last week talks between opposition parties commenced with Aram Sarkisian initiating them. The goal was to form an alliance, and it failed. Manukian's National Democratic Union announced that it will boycott the elections, Stepan Demirchian said he's going at it alone, and poor Raffi Hovannisian was left preaching to deaf ears about how he wished an alliance could be made. Recently an aide to Demirchian said that the main reason why the parties couldn't join forces was that Demirchian wanted to be the chief presidential candidate in next year's election. Similar accusations were made of Raffi Hovannisian, who denied them. So where does this leave us? It seems like Hovannisian was earnest in his efforts, he was ready to cede five spots on the opposition bloc to other parties. The main problem was Demirchian's presidential aspirations. I really hate to say this, and it's soooooo trite now, but the situation warrants it... the opposition was being too Armenian, inad, stubborn...call it whatever you want, too many ppl wanting to be the chief or in this case one guy trying to use a situation to help him become the chief. It's quite humorous, but in the end it's unfortuante. That being said, I just hope that May's elections be fair, and not just because it's the way it should be, but because Armenia has a lot at stake riding on these elections. Armenia's future with MCC aid will be dependent on them having transparent elections and let's not forget the Karabagh talks being on hold until after May. So hopefully there won't be a cloud of fairplay this spring.

4 comments:

Observer said...

EastMeets West blog has also looked at the “Typical Armenian Politics”, mostly looking at the failure of the Armenian opposition to unite and thus form a viable alternative to the pro-government political forces.

[…]Last week talks between opposition parties commenced with Aram Sarkisian initiating them. The goal was to form an alliance, and it failed. Manukian’s National Democratic Union announced that it will boycott the elections, Stepan Demirchian said he’s going at it alone, and poor Raffi Hovannisian was left preaching to deaf ears about how he wished an alliance could be made.[…]

Armenian Blog Review

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