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Enlargement Of Armenian Parties

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  • Enlargement Of Armenian Parties


    Vestnik Kavkaza, Russia
    March 28 2013

    Susanna Petrosyan, Yerevan. Exclusively to Vestnik Kavkaza

    The process of registration in the Central Election Committee
    for participation in the elections to Yerevan Council of Elders
    is finished. The elections to the capital parliament are held on
    proportional lists. The election campaign begins on April 7 and
    will end on May 3rd, May 4th will be a day of silence, and May 5th -
    the elections.

    Lists to the CEC were sent by the Republican Party of Armenia,
    Prosperous Armenia, Orinats Erkir (The Country of Legality), the
    Armenian National Congress, Arakelutyun (Mission), Dashnaktsutyun,
    and the bloc of parties "Hello, Yerevan" which unites small opposition
    parties Heritage, Democratic Motherland, Democratic Path, and the
    Conservative Party.

    Unlike the presidential elections of February 18th which results
    were predetermined, the coming election campaign may be tough. Three
    leading opposition forces - PA, the ANC, and Dashnaktsutyun - which
    rejected participation in the presidential elections, stating that
    the results would be falsified, are ready to participate this time.

    65 members are included into the Council of Elders of Yerevan. They
    are elected for four years and elect Yerevan's mayor. The party which
    will get more than 40% of votes is considered a winner. In this case
    it gets 50%+1 vote, or 33 mandates in the parliament of Yerevan. The
    rest of mandates are distributed according to the number of gained
    votes. The minimal barrier for parties is 6%, for political blocs - 8%.

    The presidential elections and post-election processes which were very
    moderate didn't change the atmosphere of competition in the country,
    which is based on a difficult socio-economic situation and absence
    of a political will to change anything for the best. The phrase by
    the vice-speaker of the parliament, a representative of RPA Eduard
    Sharmazanov: "We won't surrender Yerevan" caused confusion. This
    phrase absolutely reflects the Armenian authorities' philosophy,
    who often follow a criminal honor code and seem to think that any
    yield at any front will mean their weakness.

    "The expression "We won't surrender Yerevan" resembles the phrase
    "Moscow is behind us!" A Yerevan resident will decide himself what
    political force he would support and what political force would form
    the Council of Elders. Nobody has put Yerevan into his pocket to
    surrender it or not. Any political force must not insult a citizen
    of Armenia," the secretary of the parliamentary fraction of PA,
    Naira Zograbyan, thinks.

    The opposition seems to be prepared for a tough competition. According
    to the head of the parliamentary fraction of the ANC Levon Zurabyan,
    "discontent among people is boiling over, and everybody understands
    that serious processes are needed; such a serious event will be the
    victory of the opposition in the elections to the Council of Elders
    in Yerevan."

    A firm attitude of competitors is explained by the fact that about
    1/3 of all voters of Armenia lives in Yerevan because the capital
    is gaining key importance. Today the authorities try to diminish
    political importance of the elections.

    The power is aimed at reproduction, while the opposition - at
    improvement of its position in the political arena as the votes
    which were given to the leader of the small party Heritage in the
    presidential elections expressed an attitude of the whole protest
    electorate. Raffi Ovannisyan earned 37% all over the country, and 43%
    in the capital.

    Meanwhile, the elections of May 5th will be held within a new tendency
    for the Armenian political field - enlargement of political parties.

    This logical for democratic countries process is gaining an undue
    character in Armenia. Armenia has stepped into this way due to "turns
    of events." The process of enlargement of parties began with the
    failed party system in the country where many parties are no more
    than titles, clubs, or political groups; in the country where only
    two normal elections have been held, which results were not put into
    question either by political forces or the society (the presidential
    elections 1991 and the parliamentary elections 1999). Today in Armenia
    two major parties exist, and this positive phenomenon was formed
    not due to a normal political competition or natural selection, but
    due to improvement of "political mussels" of the ruling RPA and the
    former party of the ruling coalition Prosperous Armenia. Today these
    forces are rivals, and it seems the main competition will take place
    between them.

    The other expression of the new tendency to enlargement of parties is
    establishing of the election bloc "Hello, Yerevan" which includes
    several small parties. Probably this tendency was a reason for
    rejection participation in the coming elections by a small pro-Western
    opposition party Free Democrats. Perhaps the elections to the Council
    of Elders will make the tendency even stronger.