Protest Outside Presidential Palace

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Presidential Palace, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia © Onnik Krikorian, CRD / TI Armenia 2007

[…]The CRD/TI Armenia Election Monitor reports on a protest against Armenia’s president that took place today outside of the presidential palace. The protesters are former residents of homes that the government evicted them from and for which the government paid less than market value.[…] Via Global Voices Online.

On a related note Bekaisa has a rebellious and inspiring post, an individual protest, looking at problems around the country, the protestors deprived of housing and left in the streets, poverty, corruption. Generally speaking nobody gives a damn about the people from Buzand, Avan, Kond… They just don’t give a damn!” says the blogger and deems the society cynical, foul and unsympathetic, declaring a personal manifesto:

[…]I shall not be silenced, nor will I hide away, I am not afraid. internal emigration for me is humiliating, silence and lack of activity equivalent to crime.[…]

Since The Opposition Forces Won't Cooperate, They Will All Lose In The Upcoming Elections

Nazarian has some speculations on the opposition in general. speaking about the failure of the political forces in opposition to the Kocharian administration to reach an agreement to unite their efforts and take part in the 2007 parliamentary elections as one entity, Nazarian states, that this is only good news for pro-government forces, and suggests some variants for the inability of Opposition to find common ground:

[…]i.e. some people have been paid to undermine the efforts, or […]this is the result of the giant egos of the opposition. When one adopts a cynical view of the opposition parties, it seems that these are not sustainable forces. They look like the private clubs of the gifted visionaries -AJM for Vazgen Manukian, HJK for Stepan Demirchian, etc.[…]

Some Form of Dual Citizenship is Here

The earlier discussions continued in the Armenian blogosphere regarding the dual citizenship bill, which as Anoush Armenia and Hyelog are reporting, was approved overwhelmingly in the Armenian parliament.
Light in August (Bekaisa) has posed a very challenging question, raised by “A very well known lady who has lots and lots of experience”, which is essentially this:

“How is this possible to give citizenship anyone who was born here when you have 300.000 azerbaijani born here who can claim a citizenship from you and you wouldn’t be able to reject ?”

Join the discussion at Bekaisa‘s blog or the Armenian Dispute Club yahoo group.
Kornelij Glas also has an important comment on the Dual Citizenship legislation, noting, that it will hardly have any impact on the upcoming elections, but might potentially become an issue of consideration for the next year’s presidential ones.

Application for The Registration of Pre-Election Block "Impeachment"

Kornelij Glas reports, that the “‘Democratic Fatherland’ and the Conservative party have presented an application to the CEC [Central Electoral Commission] of Armenia for registering the pre-eleciton block ‘Impeachment'”. Uzogh has also picked up on the topic criticizing the initiative: “Impeachment – is one of the favorite themes of the opposition. More importantly – it is a very convenient one: no need to write a manifesto, think about the economy, external and internal politics, education, culture… those are all insignificant. The important thing is – impeachment! And the agitation tactic is very convenient as well: everything is [bad] now, but when we come to power, we will improve everything! Full-Stop!”

Watchdogs – The Role of Media

[…]In countries like these- where information is not clear and poorly disseminated, media outlets are controlled, facts are dubious, and unfounded conspiracy theories are rampant- it is all the MORE important for journalists, and researchers and organizations like Transparency to report the facts and the results of their research- even if it is disconcerting and frightening.[…] this is the conclusion Anoush Armenia reaches following an internal debate “about the role of media, of the effect that barrages of negative and apocalyptic news has on the psyche of a society (ie- the “culture of fear” firmly taking root in the US), about constantly drumming the beat of warning without offering constructive solutions…” Read the full article here…

Another Self-Immolation in Armenia

The post by Kornelij Glas this morning brought the shocking news: “A man has burnt himself in Republic Square”. The other bloggers soon followed with commentaries. In his post iArarat has formulated in one sentence, what seems to be in everyone’s mind as we look at the discussions going on in various blogs:

[…]You know things are getting really desperate when people start burning themselves in protest against government injustice.[…]

Onnik Krikoryan has much more detailed coverage of the incident:

[…]RFE/RL’s Irina Hovannisyan now reports that the man has since died from burns that covered 80 percent of his body at a Yerevan hospital.[…]

UPDATED: More blog posts, discussions and commentary on the tragic incident can be found here:
http://uzogh.livejournal.com/47683.html;
http://www.cilicia.com/2007/02/man-burns-himself-to-death.html;
http://www.blogrel.com/2007/02/28/what-else-does-it-take/;
http://www.cilicia.com/2007/02/election-depression.html.

Parliamentary Election Monitor

Via Oneworld Multimedia: Another Parliamentary Election Monitor is now available on the CRD/TI Election Monitor 2007 blog. This time it mainly deals with assurances from the Aleksan Harutyunyan that Public TV and Radio will be impartial in its coverage of the May vote.

[…]Following on from various private television stations denying that high costs for political advertising were introduced to prevent opposition parties from taking out slots in the broadcast media, RFE/RL reports that the Chairperson of the managing board of Armenian Public Television and Radio, Alexsan Harutyunyan, has defended his station’s policy on pricing. He also took the opportunity to promise that his journalists will remain impartial during the election.
[…]Harutyunyan also effectively dismissed opposition allegations that the recent decision to stop mandatory broadcasts from the National Assembly was an attempt to deprive them of airtime.
[…]Nevertheless, citing media monitoring by the Caucasus Media Institute in Yerevan, Armenia Now reports that Public TV does not appear to be allotting equal time to all parties in its news programs. However, CMI also says that reporting by the broadcast media is so far more or less equal, perhaps with the exception of ALM and H1.

For details of all of the above, as well as for other important developments last week, including “continuing negotiations between several opposition parties to form an electoral alliance” and “Aravot’s mention that former Karabakh commander and founder of the Dashnink party, Samvel Babayan, has reportedly been made Honorary Chairperson of the National Union of Yezidis” visit the  CRD/TI Election Monitor 2007.

"…decide if the election process is free and transparent…", Raffi Hovannisian, chairman of Heritage party

Martuni or Bust has invited the readers’ attention to a Panorama.am article about the fact, that the doors of the “Heritage” (Jarangutiun) party office have been closed for already a year, and the members of the party can’t get access to even the party charter which is locked inside the building and which is needed to submit to the Central Electoral Committee in order to get registered and participate in elections. Thus the party is artificially obstructed from registering and having a chance to participate in the elections.

“We have applied to the minister of justice, Judicial Acts Compulsory Execution service head many times but did not receive any reply. The prime minister promised to solve the problem of the office but the problem is that he cannot solve a problem of even one office,” Raffi Hovannisian, chairman of Heritage party said.
“Everybody is talking about free and fair elections. You decide if the election process is free and transparent,” the speaker addressed the reporters and answered himself, “Of coarse, not.”

Source: Panorama.am

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