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Danielian: Armenia may recall civil disobedience18.02.2013 | 19:11
Armenia does not cherish any hope in connection with today's election. Because when election is over they should expect a wave of civil disobedience, the expert Stepan Danielian believes. Presidential Race in Armenia is over. Today, citizens of the country choose a new president. What to should we expect from this election? Will the protest activity of the citizens increase? And whether the separation of business from politics takes place? The "Big Caucasus" correspondent has talked to the head of "Cooperation for Democracy" Stepan Danielian on this occasion.
- Mr. Danielian, how do you assess the presidential race? What, in your opinion, can we expect from today's election?
- This election ends a very important stage in the history of Armenia. Many analysts are of the opinion that the current situation in the country is the result of the political crisis. This means the collapse of the party-political system. Under the Constitution, the essence of the parties is participation in political life. But when there are no electoral mechanisms, the question arises - what is the role of the parties? Results of the elections are rigged, citizens express public protest, but in the end nothing changes, since the power also controls the judicial system. All this has led to the fact that the main parliamentary political forces ("Prosperous Armenia", "Dashnaktsutiun", "Rule of Law" and block "Armenian National Congress" - Ed.) have not nominated candidates against the ruling Republican Party, since they see no sense in this. And one of the candidates goes on a hunger strike demanding recognition of the election a fake. The authorities have made a mistake considering itself able to carry out good election, since there is no real competitor to the incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan. In fact, they face a rather dangerous phenomenon - the public apathy, lack of trust in public institutions. This predicts us very sad prospect.
- What exactly perspective do you mean?
- I mean the stagnation of the political system as a whole. This greatly reduces the possibility of power to resolve any meaningful country's problems. The government cannot solve pressing problems, if there is no social mobilization. Citizens are leaving the country. Many businessmen are closing their businesses. Government is introducing new and obscure taxes on small and medium businesses. Meanwhile, the monopolists are beyond the tax field. All of this, including the geopolitical concerns around Armenia, suggests that the government cannot cope with the challenges. Moreover, the problem is growing. In many cases, the logic of these problems is unclear.
- One of the main problems of the political system of modern Armenia is a deep merging of politics and business. President Serzh Sargsyan has repeatedly stated the need of separation of these segments from each other. Will this happen?
- In fact, the authorities have never put such a task. Statement by the president does not mean that everything will be just that. Sargsyan speaks with a rather controversial statements. Serzh Sargsyan and his speechwriters seem to have virtually no contact with each other. There is a view that he does not read his speech before the performance. His words are written by different people. In addition, one thing is said in the speech, and the other is done in reality. The media controlled by the authorities had tried to introduce into society a thought that Sargsyan should have the legitimacy to fight against crime and the oligarchy after the election. But these stratums to date are the backbone of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA). There is no tendency to separate politics from business in Armenia. On the contrary, in the personnel policy we can see a significant impact of crime and the oligarchy.
- During the election campaign there could be observed moments, when the Prime Minister or the Minister of Education makes a remark to the governor and schools principals for students' participation in the meetings between the voters and Serzh Sargsyan. This is somewhat strange, since many school principals are members of the Republican Party. How do you explain this phenomenon?
- Everything is very clear here. There are international and local organizations that are monitoring the election cycle in Armenia. For them, it is necessary to create the impression that educational institutions are not involved in the election process. In the course of the electoral process there have been a lot of such cases, which looked like clowning. When the people are afraid of the government - this is not the end. But when the people make fun of the authorities, this means one thing - the end of government.
- Can we expect some post-election processes? If yes, which ones?
- It depends on what we mean by the words post-election political process. If we are talking about the rallies on the part of the defeated candidates, this would not happen. Last time there were protest demonstrations after the election, since the electorate had certain expectations. Now there are no expectations. Instead of them, there can be more serious processes that would remind us civil disobedience. This can happen in rather chaotic manner. One of its manifestations is migration, for example. If civil disobedience gets some form and is well organized, the authorities are unable to oppose it.
Interviewed by Arshaluys Mgdesyan