Snap elections in Armenia – progress or politics as usual?
Negotiations on snap elections continue
Since Armenia’s defeat in Karabakh in the fall of 2020, PM Nikol Pashinyan has been under pressure to leave: something he says he won’t do unless asked to ‘by the people.’
Negotiations are now underway to hold early parliamentary elections, but there is no consensus yet.
The opposition says it wants to prevent early elections under the current authorities ‘in order to avoid falsification of the voting results’, while recent polls suggest they enjoy low public support.
Former President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan says the only way out from the crisis is Pashinyan’s voluntary resignation, which he proposes be accompanied by guarantees of immunity and temporary asylum abroad.
Martial law is still operating in the country from war time. The opposition demands it be canceled, as it is ‘an obstacle for all political processes.’
- Armenian opposition, gov’t begin negotiations
- Life after the war: interview with young head of Armenian border village
“There is a will to go to the polls”
Leader of opposition parliamentary faction Bright Armenia Edmon Marukyan claims ‘earlier the authorities looked for an excuse not to hold early elections, but now they say there ‘is a will to go to the elections.’
Consensus can be reached ‘if the elections are held within the specified time frame’, which for the opposition means holding elections in May, Marukyan explains, noting the importance of the timing be respected because ‘the crisis has become too deep and must be resolved as soon as possible.’
“Holding elections in conditions of external threat is absurd”
Vazgen Manukyan, a candidate for the post of prime minister and leader of the opposition Movement to Save the Motherland, speaks about three options for resolving the crisis.
The first is proposed by the Movement to Save the Motherland itself: form a national movement through actions of civil disobedience and force the authorities to leave. Then, a new PM would be elected in parliament not from the current government and an interim government would be formed. Only then would elections be held.
The people, according to the oppositionist, are inclined towards the second path: the army takes power, a temporary administration is formed, and after a while parliamentary elections are held. Or all the same happens through a popular uprising.
The third option is considered unacceptable by Manukyan, since it is proposed by the authorities. This is the holding of early elections under the incumbent prime minister. The oppositionist considers such an alignment dangerous, ‘capable of inflicting damage on Armenia’:
“Holding elections amid this chaos and external threat is absurd. And instead of taking our country out of this situation, it will complicate it even more. The problem is in preventing the destruction of the state, which requires the departure of the current government.”
At the same time, Manukyan stated that the opposition’s struggle is directed not only against this government, “but to a greater extent against those foreign forces that control Armenia, have a wide spy, propaganda network here, and manipulate people.”
The ex-president’s reaction
The only way out, “proceeding from the interests of the state, people and personally the Prime Minister” is the immediate, voluntary resignation of Nikol Pashinyan and departure from Armenia, said the first President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan. And for this, in his opinion, Pashinyan needs to be provided with guarantees of immunity and “obtaining, albeit temporary, but asylum abroad.”
Ter-Petrosyan stated that the duties of the prime minister should be entrusted to a non-partisan deputy prime minister who can hold fair elections.
The former president criticized the plans for overcoming the crisis, which was presented by Vazgen Manukyan. According to him, the leader of the opposition movement does not take into account the fact that one of the options he announced – “absolutely unconstitutional, realizing this, the army, despite the opposition’s pressure on it, rejected it with all determination.”
Levon Ter-Petrosyan called the Movement to Save the Motherland itself untimely:
“More than four months of public events and acute internal disagreements have shown that it absolutely does not enjoy the support of the broad masses and is completely exhausted.”
Armenia is now experiencing a catastrophic crisis of confidence, political commentator Hayk Khalatyan writes on his Facebook page:
“Disappointment of society in the authorities and the opposition, in general in politics, people’s distrust of official information, along with the strongest split in society, will become the main problems of the future government – whoever takes the helm of power following the results of the anticipated early elections.
Indeed, without society’s faith in the plans of the authorities and official information, it is impossible to solve existing problems and lead the country out of the deepest crisis in which it found itself as a result of Nikol Pashinyan’s rule. And also to stop the already visible wave of migration from the country ”.
What they write in social networks
Users of the Armenian Facebook segment also write about disappointment from the protracted political crisis.
Here are some comments:
“What is the point of standing tents on Baghramyan and in the blocked avenue, if nothing happens at all [we are talking about the entrances to parliament closed by oppositionists – JAMnews]? One marking time. No complaints, just a statement of fact.
In the end, to disperse the resistance of the semblance of opposition, they will declare a lockdown because of the crown and create even more problems for everyone. This will be the logical outcome of the “fight against the regime.”
“What is happening in Armenia is a performance, and everyone has their own roles.”
“If there were no tents, there would not even be talk of elections. We must thank those who are on duty in these tents, and let those who can do better. ”
“Yes, go to any of his [Pashinyan’s] conditions, give any guarantees. The guarantees apply to the prime minister, but not to the criminal. Then let them find out who Pashinyan really is – the prime minister of the Republic of Armenia or the criminal who sold Armenia. “