Vote 2012: Re-alignment of forces outlined well before start of election campaign

Vote 2012: Re-alignment of forces outlined well before start of election campaign

Photolure

ANC-led oppositionists started a week-long “civic fest” sit in at Freedom Square.

While Armenian experts are discussing the possible course of political developments in the country before the elections, politicians are predicting a split within the ruling coalition and the creation of new, seemingly improbable alliances.

The approach of next spring’s Parliamentary Elections and the 2013 Presidential Election makes political parties finally navigate and select camps.

As the radical opposition represented by the Armenian National Congress (ANC) holds a week-long sit-in Yerevan’s central Liberty Square, calling on people to push for the resignation of government officials, past-President Robert Kocharyan said late last week he did not exclude his return to major-league politics. In addition, the fact that the current president in Russia Dmitry Medvedev nominated his predecessor Vladimir Putin for presidency has created a potential copy-cat scenario (though probably without the endorsement of President Serzh Sargsyan).

Most analysts are now contemplating a confrontation between Sargsyan and Kocharyan. Broad speculation even includes a Sargsyan-Levon Ter-Petrosyan alliance. It is not beyond belief that Sargsyan and Ter-Petrosyan would conspire to defeat Kocharyan on a platform that emphasized Kocharyan’s violation of constitutional order in the events of March 1, 2008 and the deaths of 10 citizens in post-election violence.

The second variant is again a confrontation between Sargsyan and Kocharyan, but in which the Ter-Petrosyan-led ANC acts as a separate force, working against both Sargsyan and Kocharyan, to call for fair elections. Since elections so far have been rigged with administrative tools that have been ensured by the Republican Party and its coalition partners, the dispersal of these levers between the former partners would be seen to encourage legitimate competition.

And while Ter-Petrosyan insists that Kocharyan lacks a party platform, according to Deputy Chairman of the ruling Republican Party Razmik Zohrabyan, the return of ex-President Kocharyan to politics can make a split within the ruling coalition if Kocharyan’s candidacy is nominated by a coalition party – Prosperous Armenia (believed to be loyal to the ex-president), or Orinats Yerkir.

But there is also another variant, which is considered least of all -- Sargsyan voluntarily resigns and at the Republican Party’s congress, in analogy with the Putin-Medvedev tandem, Kocharyan is nominated as the next presidential candidate of the party. Despite the fact that the Republican Party has already declared that its candidate at the next presidential election will be its leader Sargsyan, the change of the configuration in Russia may have its influence in Armenia.

Will the Republican Party members be able and willing to oppose the nomination of Kocharyan? Probably not, since most of them joined the party during Kocharyan’s presidency.