Vote 2012: Armenian parties in preparations for upcoming parliamentary race

Vote 2012: Armenian parties in preparations for upcoming parliamentary race

Photolure

Artak Davtyan, Armen Arakelyan

Opposition and pro-government candidates in Armenia’s upcoming parliamentary elections are actively preparing for the start of official campaigning, April 8, by discussing the lists of candidates presented by the political parties and assessing their rivals’ and own chances in the May 6 vote.

Armen Arakelyan, a member of the Board of Free Democrats, a recently established opposition party that will contest the upcoming elections jointly with the Heritage party, considers the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) to be their main rival, but says that most of the electorate in Armenia since the 1990s has traditionally been pro-opposition.

He says simply the governing force has always resorted to the administrative resource to rig the vote results through fraud and vote buying. “This resource has been used in all elections in Armenia beginning in 1990. No doubt, there will be vote buying this time around as well,” claimed Arakelyan, adding that the price of one vote in Armenia may reach up to 30,000 drams (more than $75) this year.

Arakelyan also says he is perplexed at the position of Prosperous Armenia, a governing coalition member party that has increasingly become critical of its major partner, RPA, ahead of the May vote.

“By positioning itself as an opposition within the ruling camp this party tries to appeal to the disgruntled part of the electorate,” says Arakelyan, adding that the other coalition party, Orinats Yerkir, is less of a political factor in Armenia.

The RPA’s current lawmaker Artak Davtyan, for his part, says that they consider all parties, including their current allies, as rivals in the forthcoming election race.

“Getting ready for the upcoming race, all declare in their programs that they want to implement constitutional provisions, the different is in the approaches and mechanisms,” he says.

According to Davtyan, the party list presented by the RPA “mirrors our reality” and anyone can see the candidate of their choice in there. He also hails the joint effort by Heritage and Free Democrats in contesting the May vote, calling it an “unprecedented” alliance in Armenian politics.

Arakelyan, for his part, describes the RPA’s election list that includes all Republican governors and members of the government to be part of “preparations” for the presidential election, which is due in Armenia in 2013.