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.
The protests of young environmentalists against the construction of kiosks in a central Yerevan park have been going on for nearly two months now. A “senior” group of protesters joined the young campaigners on March 31 – among them some well-known figures in Armenia. The group tried to dismantle the already installed pavilions, but the police cordoned off the constructions and would not let them get closer to them.
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan attending the Nuclear Security Council in Seoul, South Korea, made a speech on Tuesday, stressing that Armenia is making concrete efforts to ensure the control over nuclear security.
He also reassured the world community that Armenia fully safeguards the safe operation of its Soviet-built nuclear reactor at the Metsamor plant, whose life span ends in 2016.
Despite the fact that representatives of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia said earlier that in the future the number of businessmen as parliament deputies will be kept to a minimum, almost all of today’s tycoons represented in the legislature are either on the proportional lists of parties or running for reelection in one of 41 single-seat constituencies.
Experts consider several reasons why President Serzh Sargsyan, who appears to be strongly determined to carry out reforms, has, nevertheless, opted for including oligarchs in the lists.
Armenia’s Central Election Commission on March 22 stopped accepting nominations by political parties and blocs and individuals wishing to take part in the elections to the National Assembly of the 5th convocation slated for May 6.