In the Making: Alliances form, parties split, lists on the way, Armenia’s preparing for elections

In the Making: Alliances form, parties split, lists on the way, Armenia’s preparing for elections

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Armenia’s domestic politics is now in a stage of reshuffling, during which pre-election alliances are formed, parties withdraw from existing alliances, and all the political forces are now working on their proportionate representation lists as well as nomination of single-mandate candidates.

Four of the 18 political parties- members of the Armenian National Congress, namely Union of Armenian Volunteers (UAV), National Revival, Homeland and Honor, and Christian-People’s Revival, have officially declared that they are withdrawing from ANC party lists and will not take part in the forthcoming parliamentary elections. UAV is the only party among the four who has given an explanation for its decision: their representative Samvel Harutyunynan told the press that “serious disagreement” with ANC is the main reason. He says, in particular, they object to opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan being in charge of making the proportionate list (at the March 1 rally Ter-Petrosyan stated that he was assuming the responsibility for “finalizing the list”), but want it to be a joint decision of all the member-forces.

Harutyunyan accused one of the ANC parties, namely Pan-Armenian National Movement and four other parties supporting it, of “aborting” the consensus agreed over drafting the list. The other three parties who have withdrawn from ANC have not offered any explanation yet.

While member-parties are leaving ANC, it became known last year that the party list of coalitional Prosperous Armenia Party would include United Labor Party (ULP); the decision was made at the party congress. ULP leader Gurgen Arsenyan didn’t go into details on how many of his party members will be included and which position he will be holding on the list. There are speculations that ex-foreign minister Vardan Oskanian who had joined the party earlier, will be holding the second position on the list led by party leader Gagik Tsarukyan.

No political force has expressed willingness to join coalitional Rule of Law party yet, the ruling Republican Party will most probably be running alone as well, however, there are talks that Artashes Geghamyan leading National Unity Party might be on the Republican’s party list (president Serzh Sargsyan once called him “an empty drum”, but was present at the presentation of Geghamyan’s book last week), as well as Constitutional Right Union leader Hayk Babukhanyan, National Self-Determination Union leader Paruyr Hayrikyan, and others.

Oppositional Heritage party will likely run together with Free Democrats Party (FDP) formed last year (the party leadership is mostly made of Pan-Armenian National Movement supporters). At Heritage’s March 2 congress leader Raffi Hovhannisian stated: “We welcome our potential partnership with the Free Democrats party, and hope it will be a lasting cooperation with good prospects”. FDP member Ararat Zurabyan regards official statement of the alliance as a matter of “mere technicality”.