by Diana Markosyan
06:22 pm | Today | Interview

"A1+": How would you rate the current inter-political state in Armenia,
taking into account the current ANC-authorities dialogue?

Vahan Hovhannisyan: Whenever any government finds itself in a
difficult situation, it has two alternatives, especially when it is
in a difficult situation since its legitimacy is called into question.

When some masses and political circles call the government's legitimacy
into question and create tension, the government has two options. The
first is to mitigate the people's situation by undertaking real
reforms and establishing justice in the country.

Those reforms must satisfy the people. When the government senses
that it is incapable of implementing the reforms because it will
cause itself harm, it usually chooses the second option and starts
dialogues. There is something false in all this. We have seen such
attempts for dialogue in the early 90s when the general front of the
opposition was close to making Levon Ter-Petrosyan resign. I must
say that that didn't endanger the Karabakh struggle. The people were
close, but since the government realized that it wasn't capable of
implementing reforms, it started sectorial dialogue that didn't benefit
the people. Levon Ter-Petrosyan was creating a block in parliament,
and made the Dashnaktsutyun lose the opportunity to participate in
parliamentary elections because he knew very well that the ARFD would
score a victory in those elections. He also split the opposition
front through dialogue and brought himself the then HHK.

The tables have turned now. The Republican Party of Armenia has engaged
in dialogue with those forces because it is no longer capable of
leading the country and making reforms. But we have seen this before
and are simply waiting to see what will happen next. When I speak of
offers, I refer to the offers to become a part of the coalition. The
ARFD denied the offers and all those who say that the ARFD is in the
coalition for posts are simply stupid.

"A1+": Fine, this goes to say that you rule out reforms after dialogue?

V. H.: Yes, I rule it out. Dialogue is a way of avoiding reforms and
mainly goes to show that the authorities are ready to talk and are
fulfilling European structures' demands. We have been hearing about
those reforms for years, but we didn't see any.

"A1+": You are speaking from the government's point of view. What
does the opposition get out of this dialogue?

V. H.: What the HHK got.

"A1+": Do you mean posts or seats in parliament?

V. H.: I wouldn't like to assume that the issue will be limited to
some posts in government or seats in parliament. I wouldn't like to
make predictions at all.

"A1+": Do you rule out the likelihood of snap elections?

V. H.: I don't exclude that the authorities will make a concession
for one of the elections.

"A1+: Presidential or parliamentary?

V. H.: It is hard to say, but if you ask me, I would say presidential.

But that won't change anything. Snap elections are only morally
satisfying. This is where the authorities need to take precaution.

"A1+": Do you mean that there won't be a new president after snap

V. H.: I don't think it will be possible this way. A president will
change through a pan-national movement when the people realize that
they are the owners of their voices and don't only rely on this or
that force.

"A1+": Many parties, the so-called "third force", complain that they
feel like they are out of the game. Do you see such a tendency?

V. H.: One of the goals of this dialogue is to create an illusion that
there is no other force besides these two and that that situation is
not new. These two forces are trying to present themselves as the
only ones. The forces are not different, but the people are. They
are continuing with the same ideology and working style. All efforts
are aimed at showing the people that there is no alternative to the
line of the political party that originated from the USSR. But there
is an alternative. Robert Kocharyan's administration instilled hope
for an alternative in the first years, but then that hope died.

"A1+": Could you tell us who killed that hope?

V. H.: No, I think those who understand, understood me.

"A1+": Today there is a view that Robert Kocharyan doesn't see a
favorable ground for his return to politics after this dialogue. What
do you have to say about that?

V. H.: I don't like to draw conclusions with opinions, especially when
those opinions are formed by the presses. At this moment, I don't
see Robert Kocharyan's attempt to return to politics or a struggle
against that attempt. If the former president is concerned about
the problems in Armenia, that is normal. He is as concerned as any
citizen is. But it's strange that the authorities are not concerned.

"A1+": If snap presidential or parliamentary elections were held today,
would the ARFD be ready to participate?

V. H.: I wouldn't like to answer that question now. Of course, any
political force can face unexpected situations, but any force must
be ready for such developments. If we see such a situation, we will
make a decision very quickly.