President Serzh Sargsyan has made laudable proclamations over the past few days, including issuing orders that, if earnestly implemented, would advance the possibility of fair elections over the next two years – something Armenia has not seen since its first poll 20 years ago.
Monday, the president reminded high-ranking police officials that the republic’s law enforcement is obliged to not wield power out of a sense of political loyalty to the ruling regime.
A highly regarded voice of the Armenian Diaspora is speaking out in an attempt to diffuse speculation that last week’s decision by American billionaire Kirk Kerkorian to cease giving aid to Armenia is related to misgivings the philanthropist had about how hundreds of millions of dollars he spent here was managed.
When news broke that the Lincy Fund was being dissolved and its $200 million would be transferred to a new fund at UCLA, noted commentator/editor of the California Courier weekly, Harut Sassounian politely bypassed ArmeniaNow’s request for comment, saying “I am not the Lincy spokesman”.
Armenia’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs Vartan Oskanian said in a website posting Friday that the ruling government coalition, by signing what in effect is a no compete clause ahead of upcoming major elections, has served notice of its intention to curb the fundamental democratic principle of open competition and parity of representation.
On Thursday, Orinats Yerkir, the Republican Party of Armenia, and the Prosperous Armenia Party signed a memorandum agreeing that they will not compete against each other in the 2012 parliamentary elections, and that they will not nominate candidates to oppose incumbent Serzh Sargsyan in the 2013 presidential election. The agreement also stated the coalition’s intention to further dominate the National Assembly – where it holds 106 of 131 seats, and the Government, where it is currently represented by 12 of 18 cabinet posts (with six “unaffiliated” ministers).
Now that the former president, who upon giving up office three years ago said he wasn’t about to head to the rocking chair, has spoken, what has he really said? Whatever his message, it likely lies between the lines rather than on the screen or the page collected from his surprise interview with Mediamax.
Do your own conjuring – as nearly every person who follows Armenian politics surely must be – and you will reach conclusions additional or contrary to the ones here. One thing appears obvious: The former president has inclinations toward being the future president and he won’t mind bullying his way to the chair if necessary.
Friction between the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) and its coalition partner, Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP), has been at the forefront of political discussion in capital Yerevan, since an exchange of dismissive statements from both parties’ leaders earlier this week.
On Thursday, a primary leader of RPA shed light on the rift between the two major parties, telling Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that relations are strained due to the fact that PAP – led by tycoon Gagik Tsarukyan, whose political career was mentored by former President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan – has not endorsed the 2013 re-election of President Serzh Sargsyan.
It is a question in the thoughts of observers and participants of socio-political life here (which in fact is all of us), as unrest has spread into Algeria, Yemen and others places, and has turned Egypt inside out. Yesterday, even Jordan – a monarchy – saw its government fired, a pre-emptive move by King Abdullah II in the face of citizen discontent at leadership which the king himself said “had sometimes put their own interests ahead of those of the public.”
If plans materialize according to oppositional bloc threats, February will see the resumption of large-scale political protests in Yerevan aimed, according to the Armenian National Congress (ANC) to topple Armenia’s “illegitimate, incompetent, and corrupt government”.
A questionably proffered question from an Armenian delegation member to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe yesterday (January 25), gave Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul an uncontested and prominent platform from which to restate his nation’s viewpoint on the Armenian “genocide”.
During the session, Prosperous Armenia Party’s Naira Zohrabyan asked Gul: “Don’t you think that as soon as Turkey has the courage to accept and recognize the Armenian Genocide, committed by Ottoman Turkey [in 1915], it will be able to be free from the heavy burden of the past and take its place among civilized nations?