Naira Hayrumyan

Feb 1 2008

The presidential race in Armenia increasingly resembles the game
Mafia which has been popular among the political and scholarly elite
and youth since the Soviet years.

Like in the popular game, too many candidates are running in the
race to make counting others' cards difficult. And like in the game,
there are "honest citizens", "investigators" and "Mafiosi". However,
as long as the game is not over, nobody can tell who was honest and
who pretended to be. In fact, in the Armenian election the "viewers"
will hardly understand who is who even after the voting.

Those who have ever played mafia know the purpose of the game is to
make everyone believe that you are an honest citizen and you must
fight mafia. In addition, you can do it in any way - lying, bluffing,
arousing sympathy, letting down friends and destroying others.

Eventually the "honest citizens" try to destroy mafia, whereas the
"Mafiosi" try to protect themselves and reproduce. In addition, all
the actions take place with eyes closed, and without any idea of who
the opponent is.

An honest citizen does not know who is honest and who is bluffing.

However, they must pretend that they are looking through everyone
and planning every step. Everyone wears a clever face and tells lies,
knowing that the others realize everything.

The reality in Armenia is similar to the "last night" of the game
when the decision is made on whom to "kill" the last. It should be
noted that the candidates are playing in accordance with the rules -
"till the last".

The supporters of one candidate are beaten, the office of another
is attacked, the third's supporters are checked by the tax service,
the fourth candidate presents a selection of lyrical poems and
complains of the other candidates who are speaking "clever words". The
representative of the parliament majority is criticizing the acting
prime minister who did not take a vacation during his election

Most interestingly, unlike "Mafiosi", the "outsiders" do not leave
the "game". For instance, the leaving president states that "after
the election we will not harm the supporters of the All-Armenian
Movement." One more difference: whoever you are in the game, an honest
citizen or a Mafiosi, if you lose, you admit your defeat.

Meanwhile, in the Armenian elections they stake their all as if it
is a matter of life and death.

Although, in other countries too, elections resemble a game. The
only difference is that after the "night", in accordance with the
legislation, the candidates hold public debates. In Armenia, everyone
agrees to debates but no debates are ever held. One more thing: in
other countries the resignation of a prime minister like in Italy is
not perceived as a mortal insult. It is just politics.

Usually 9 to 11 people play the game. The others watch. Without
interfering and snickering. Here is another resemblance between
the Armenian elections and the game: for the first time the voters
are embarrassed and do not know what to do. And there is not a line
"against everyone" in the ballot.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress