Will the internal political crisis in Armenia be resolved or deepened after snap elections?
Snap elections in Armenia
The upcoming early elections in Armenia raise many questions.
Many even doubt whether they will take place, although Prime Minister Pashinyan has already announced that they will occur on June 20.
Armenia plunged into a protracted political crisis immediately after the defeat in the second Karabakh war. The opposition is demanding the resignation of the prime minister since the fall of 2020, but PM Pashinyan refuses to leave at the request of only ‘a portion of the population.’ To emerge from the situation, political parties in the country have agreed to hold early parliamentary elections.
JAMnews asked political observer Hakob Badalyan whether these elections will take place, whether the internal political crisis will be resolved thanks to them, who will participate in them and with what chances.
- Electoral Code changed in Armenia in run up to snap elections
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Will the elections take place?
“There is doubt in the society about this. Much depends not only on the internal political situation in the country, but also on the geopolitical situation in the Caucasus. Nothing can be ruled out, theoretically such an external situation could arise that could lead to a change in the internal agenda in Armenia.
Today, there are no serious prerequisites for this, but our environment is quite unpredictable. It is also worth noting that the influence of the external factor on Armenia, especially after the defeat in the war, increased even more. Consequently, it is impossible to predict or predict any agenda based on internal agreements or the internal political situation.
Moreover, this external factor may become not only an aggravation of the situation in our region. This may be an aggravation in other regions, for example, in the Middle East, Iran, in Ukraine, etc. Since our region is in one link with other regions, the aggravation at one point or another may lead to new problems or new actions.
In fact, we do not have our previous security system, and the new system has not yet been formed, and in this situation Armenia is very much dependent on external factors. From this point of view, I do not exclude the possibility that there may not be elections”.
Will the crisis be resolved?
“There is some fear clashes or civil war in the event of elections, given the acute political crisis in the country. But the question arises – who can move things towards civil war? Anyone who has the intention and ability to turn a civil war will find a reason, even without elections.
Moreover, now we are in a state of acute political crisis, in the conditions of which any street action can instantly turn into a civil war.
But if the political forces are able to reach agreements at least on holding elections in order to understand what assessment society gives to a particular force, then the election results can be taken as a starting point and the situation can be resolved.
Of course, it is very important how the elections and post-election processes related to the rule of law, transparency, and freedoms will be held. After all, elections in themselves are already tension, a struggle for power.
But even without them, this tension has already reached its climax in the political life of Armenia, since the internal political processes and the agenda dictated by the parties in no way reflect the reality and mood of society. This situation generates tension, and the elections will provide an opportunity to put everything in its place and bring it in line with each other. Through elections, public sentiment will be reflected in parliament, not on the street.
Therefore, elections are better than the other way around.”
Optimal timing of elections
“On account of the timing of the elections, everyone has their own subjective opinion. The opposition believes that they should not be carried out now. I do not think that, for example, in a year our country will reach a higher quality level in terms of electoral processes.
You can always say that today we are not ready for elections. It would be problematic to hold elections in a month, but June is the optimal date for holding them. “
Are new players joining the game?
“New forces will appear, in principle, they already exist. Now the process of their formation is underway. Their chances will depend on the format in which they take part in the elections. Naturally, alone they will have less chances than if they create some kind of block with more experienced and known strength.
A new force can be called, for example, the party of the former governor of the Syunik region of Armenia, member of the Council of the Zangezur copper-molybdenum plant Vahe Hakobyan “Reviving Armenia”. Or the party of the Russian businessman, the owner of the Dvin hotel and the head of the Tovmasyan charity fund Artak Tovmasyan “Third Power”, etc.
There are other parties that were created a little earlier, but they will be new in the election process. And in this sense, the picture is diverse. There are also forces whose connection with the old system is obvious, but they appear in public with a new face.
Such forces will manifest themselves more clearly when they begin to speak on a particular topic. Then it will be clear who and for what purpose, as well as who for what purpose was introduced into the political field as a new party, which of them is a satellite party, a spoiler, etc. “
Will one ex-president help or hinder another?
“It is very important how the relations and interests of the two ex-presidents – Serzh Sargsyan and Robert Kocharyan – will develop now.
Former President Robert Kocharian announced that he will take part in the upcoming elections with his team. But it is not yet known who his team is and in what format it will appear.
There is talk that he will go to the elections with the ARF “Dashnaktsutyun” and some of the parties that have united with the demand for the resignation of the government, which are popularly called “17+” by their number.
But here it is very important how the other ex-President Serzh Sargsyan intends to use his rather impressive resources. Moreover, he had previously stated that he did not intend to participate in the elections.
The circles of both of these figures are the former ruling elite.
Will Serzh Sargsyan still fight for power? If he does come into play, in what format and on what scale? Serzh Sargsyan also stated that “he will not leave the political trenches,” and this statement was more directed to his own circles than to the current authorities.
Accordingly, Kocharyan’s chances depend on the relations between the circles of the previous system, on the alignment in this system, on the degree of activity or passivity of Serzh Sargsyan’s party (Republican Party of Armenia), its vector, the decision to help or hinder Robert Kocharian in case of its non-participation.
In any case, I think Serzh Sargsyan will not allow any percentage of his resources to go to Robert Kocharian or anyone else.
The supporters of Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sargsyan, that is, the circles or strata of the former ruling system, have more differences and contradictions than unity.
Today they can only be united by the struggle against the current government. But their internal disagreements have always been and are still relevant. They became, in principle, the reason for the failure of the joint blitz fight with the current authorities after the war. And now, I think, they do play on different fields. “