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Alexander Markarov: “Very few people doubt Serge Sargsyan's victory”

The known political scientist, the author of several books about democracy development in Armenia and on the former Soviet Union as a whole, the Vice- rector of the Yerevan State University Alexander Markarov is the recognized expert in development of a political situation in Armenia. At our request he told about arrangement of political forces on the eve of presidential elections in the republic which will take place in February.

- To begin the conversation on arrangement of political forces in Armenia, we need to return to a shake-up which occurred when in 2007 the first president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan returned to the political arena. Up to this point there was a coalition which the party in power created plus poorly institutionalized and organized opposition. Ter -Petrosyan's arrival changed a situation.

Now we will address further away – to the middle of the 2000th years. Then it became clear that the president of the country Robert Kocharyan isn't going to move forward for the third term, and there is a problem of continuity of the power. It was rather logical to assume that Serzh Sargsyan, leaning on Republican Party, will come to political arena already as the first person. But there was a question: what will be with Robert Kocharyan?

- Assumptions were the most different after all…

- It was supposed that the Prospering Armenia party created one year prior to elections can become peculiar “the second foot” in political system. But that wanted and that turned out are two different things. In our option the question was so: to whom the political majority will pass? And this issue was unambiguously resolved in favour of Republican Party. Well, and "the Prospering Armenia" could be fixed in quality of the second political force. During this period it isn't possible to speak about existence of any serious political opposition to the power.

- But further the opposition gained the strength, isn't it?

- How political struggle progresses? Or who against whom, or – who with whom … The second pole, really oppositional was created. During rather short time it managed to gather both the protest electorate and electorate which followed Ter-Petrosyan as an alternative figure. As a result by February, 2008 there is a society polarization and Serzh Sargsyan wins during presidential election.

Then there was a known standing within ten days – March events. And after that the opposition in the form of the consolidated force, but in the form of the umbrella organization, goes gradually on a decrease. The testimony to it is the elections in Yerevan and the following parliamentary elections.

- At parliamentary elections the republicans win a sure victory. Some experts were much surprised …


- Republicans on these elections act much better, than their colleagues on a coalition together taken. The new coalition is formed as a result: republicans plus Legality Country party. Respectively, some directions of opposition develop.

Firstly, the classical opposition of the power and opposition, secondly, inside imperious coalition, and, thirdly, the competition inside the opposition. There is a dispute: who will play a role of the first fiddle? This question is not idle, after all the opposition is non-uniform too: there are some more nationalist parties except the Armenian National Congress. Or with social elements or with liberal. It is, respectively, Our Heritage party and dashnaks. The last have quite settled electorate, but, as they say, you won't jump above the head…

So the main trend at parliamentary elections was such: the Republican Party was against “Prospering Armenia”; and all the others solved one problem – to get to parliament.

As a result there was a situation which continues to exist until now. There is a ruling coalition, there is an opposition, and the Prospering Armenia party tries to occupy a certain interval between them. It wants to occupy an unclear alternative niche: without wishing to break off completely with the power and without wishing to act as opposition completely. As a result “Prospering Armenia” lost the ministerial posts which had. And, being not presented in ruling coalition, this party now has no political levers to influence the adoption of political decisions.

- What is it possible to say about alignment of forces on coming elections of the head of state?


- As for the upcoming presidential elections, the situation here develops the following. The oppositional field is shattered, and there were negotiations concerning promotion of the only alternative candidate that isn't absolutely real.

Some, on the contrary, say that won't put forward. For example, there were speeches of the representatives of dashnaks who said that, probably, there won't be the putting forward of the candidate from their party. The logic is clear: if there is no chance to win, you shouldn't participate then … But I believe that for political party it is not absolutely right position. So after all it is possible to lose the electorate which always voted for dashnaks. On the contrary, political parties have to use all opportunities for promotion and propaganda of own positions.

The main intrigue consists today in what position will occupy the Prospering Armenia party? The format of its participation can be one of three-four options. The first is not putting forward of the candidate and support the candidate of republicans, the incumbent president Serge Sargsyan. The question is what the party would like to receive for such policy? If it is included into alliance, of course, it can put forward any requirements or wishes. Well, and the republicans can agree with them and can reject!

The second option is putting forward own candidate who then stops and declares the support of one of other candidates. The question is whom exactly?! After all “Prospering Armenia” can both support the pro-governmental candidate and oppositional. There is also one more option: the party can even rally opposition forces round itself and make own game further. What options will be chosen by “Prospering Armenia” we get to know soon – it is necessary to wait already not for long …

- Serzh Sargsyan is a favourite on these elections?

- In any case, very few people from experts doubt a victory of incumbent president Serge Sargsyan on elections. Already so few time remains to elections that the opposition even in the presence of reasonable approach won't manage to untwist the alternative candidate. Even in case if it will be the representative of Prospering Armenia party. And even if such candidate will have any stable rating, not the fact that it is possible to make a start and go further from this rating …

It is obvious that Serzh Sargsyan will carry out the active election campaign. And the question, maybe, consists not in who will be a candidate from ruling party on elections of 2013, as many whom will nominate on elections of 2018 …

- But there is one more figure. The subject was constantly discussed: would Robert Kocharyan want to return a chair of the president, occupying for two terms?


- If to judge on Kocharyan's several performances for the last 3-4 years, he didn't make the statement on what conditions he agrees to return to the power. While seemingly there are no such conditions as there are no demonstrations on streets with slogans “Robert Kocharyan, come back! We wait!” It isn't visible…

There were no official statements neither from Robert Kocharyan nor from this or that political force, that they are ready to act as uniform force on elections. Though, informally, the people constantly say that Robert Kocharyan stands behind “Prospering Armenia”.

The only formal instruction on possibility of existence of such communication is existence of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Vardan Oskanyan in the ranks of “Prospering Armenia”. He is considered as a figure connected with Kocharyan and he doesn't hide that …. But after all to say that there is a communication between concrete party and ex-president is impossible – there are no formal bases for this purpose.

Viewed : 1660   Commented: 2

Author: Vladimir Kuzmenkin

Publication date : 14 February 2013 20:12

Source: The world and we

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