With less than 10 days left before the parliamentary vote in Armenia, one of the questions mostly preoccupying the local analytical minds is whether the current Prime Minister, Tigran Sargsyan, will stay in his post after the elections, or, if not, who then will succeed him in office. The choice depends on whether the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) will retain its majority in the next National Assembly or will yield some of its positions to the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) that is now waging what seems an uncompromising struggle against its current coalition ally.
On April 24 Armenians around the world marked the 97th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey. The closer the centennial of this heinous crime is, the more there is talk about the likelihood of the United States, and then the United Nations formally recognizing the massacres and deportations of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians as genocide on April 24, 2015, and forcing Turkey to pay. Experts say that the price to be paid may be varied – from reparations to a territorial fragmentation of Turkey.
April 20 is the date set for the start of nominations in the July 19 presidential elections in Nagorno-Karabakh. Only incumbent President Bako Sahakyan has so far stated his intention to run for another five-year term in office.
While the campaign for the May 6 parliamentary elections is actively on in Armenia, analysts and sociologists are trying to figure out whether the line-up of political forces will change in the next National Assembly.
The Gallup Organization conducted a survey in Armenia on April 4-10 showing that 34 percent of respondents are willing to give their votes to the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), with 28 percent ready to cast their ballots for the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) and only 9 percent for the opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC).
During the campaign ahead of Armenia’s May 6 parliamentary elections for the first time in post-independence years the Karabakh subject has not been a main topic of debate and opponents do not openly accuse each other of “selling” Karabakh, nor that they used the conflict to seize power.
While Armenian political forces are unfolding their campaigns ahead of the May 6 elections to the National Assembly, there is also a growing civil movement that centers not only around environmental issues, but also around the question of the legitimacy of oligarchic property.
The economy has predictably become a major issue for debate in the unfolding parliamentary election campaign. Not only the political forces running on an opposition platform, but even the pro-establishment Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) have been criticizing the government over its handling of economic issues, calling the current economic policies “mediocre”.
Sunday saw the start of a four-week parliamentary “official” election campaign in Armenia.The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), Heritage/Free Democrats and the Communist Party of Armenia were first to launch.
Armenia has seen the establishment of what seem to be rival bodies that are to monitor the course of the upcoming parliamentary elections. One such body has been set up by forces opposed to the main ruling Republican Party of Armenia and the other one by RPA itself. Time will show whether they will help or hinder each other.
A new turn of activity around the Karabakh conflict settlement has started, with its aim appearing to be an intermediately solution to the conflict, which will make it possible to open the borders and some communications in the region.
The South Caucasus region has been visited by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Commissioner for EU Enlargement Stefan Fule. Each of them made a statement that reflects the policies of their countries. Judging by these statements, Russia is interested in the speediest settlement of the Karabakh conflict, and the Western countries advocate the preservation of peace in the region.