May 15 saw two major events in Moscow – an informal summit of the CIS, a loose alliance of 11 former Soviet states which has turned 20 this year, and the summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which is marking its 10th anniversary. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan also attended the summits.
The five political parties and one bloc of parties that have entered the National Assembly in the May 6 elections are now seeing an internal jostle for mandates to be distributed under the proportional system. Some opposition politicians say the mandates must be relinquished and the elections must be recognized illegitimate, others say it is preferable to go and fight in the parliament.
Civic activists that have fought against construction in a Yerevan park said at a press conference Friday that Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan, Chief Architect Narek Sargsyan, deputy chief of the Yerevan police Robert Melkonyan and police officers Valery Osikyan and Karen Movsisyan should be held accountable for what they view an illegal decision to install trade facilities in the park and the police for “using violence against and illegally detaining citizens that were defending their constitutional rights.”
Armenian Parliament Speaker representing the ruling Republican Party Samvel Nikoyan said the other day that the Armenian people have not seen such fair elections as the May 6 parliamentary elections.
“Remember how it used to be in the past? Sometimes they would steel the ballot box or the lights would go out. Now normal elections have been held, and if the society felt that their voice did not reach the goal, they would have come out to the street,” said Nikoyan.
May 6 saw general elections in several European nations, including France, Greece, Serbia, as well as their eastern neighbor - Armenia.
Experts usually make references to ideological differences between contestants in elections. In referring to the Armenia vote, most foreign media would call it a contest between the presidential party and the party of a billionaire former arm wrestling champ – the Republican Party of Armenia led by President Serzh Sargsyan and the Prosperous Armenia Party of Gagik Tsarukyan.
United States President Barack Obama last week named the secretary of state’s special envoy for Eurasian energy Richard Morningstar as ambassador to Azerbaijan to succeed Matthew Bryza, whose short lived tour of duty in Baku ended late last year amid opposition from the Armenian lobby at the Congress. Morningstar’s nomination also has to clear the Congress before he can get the post.
In what was likely a pre-election publicity stunt, on May 1 President Serzh Sargsyan visited the Yerevan park that has been a point of environmental protests in the past three months and urged the city mayor, Taron Margaryan, accompanying him on the trip to get the “ugly pavilions” dismantled.
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.