Armenian opposition not ready for elections, while Prosperous Armenia is campaigning already

Armenian opposition is just not serious urges East Meets West, characterizing all except Raffi [Hovhannisyan] in the Armenian opposition as “greedy, self indulged, inept, corrupt, ‘me first’ individuals”, who do not “deserve to become a president, since none of them really care about the people and their problems”. The blogger is especially frustrated by lack of any kind of serious political manifesto, or issues raised by the opposition:

[…]They have no publicly announced plans for decreasing joblessness in Armenia (the most important issue for Armenia today), they have no such plans for the Karabakh issue, for health care, for emigration, and pretty much any other important issues.[…]

Ogostos has been looking into the political program of the newly established United Libratory National Party (MIAK) party, which was recently covered in this blog because of a well known humorist running for the Armenian parliament in that party’s list. Ogostos has defined MIAK’s programme as a package of pointless general phrases, overburdened with words like “institutes”, “systems”, “mechanisms”. However the biggest problem Ogostos has found with the party’s programme was the notion of “removing the Mass Media registration institute”, which, Ogostos reminds the party ideologists, has been abolished 4 years ago – since the adoption of the new law on mass information.
On a related note, in his analysis of the opposition programmes East Meets West poses an important question:

[…]these guys put their personal needs before the needs of the people, just like the current bunch in the power. So a question arises; Why should the people change the ruling elite if the new comers are not going to bring anything new?[…]

Well, it doesn’t look like the rulling elite really needs this kind of support for their cause from East Meets West as we can see from the post at CRD / TI Armenia Election Monitor 2007, the pro-government parties have already started campaigning, well ahead of the date for the official launch of the political campaigns:

According to the timetable of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of the Republic of Armenia, campaigning for the May Parliamentary Election should not start until “from the day following the last day of registration of the candidates and completed a day before the date of voting.” Yet, despite the CEC site making it quite clear when pre-election campaign should start, political advertising has already started, and both the opposition as well as pro-government forces are guilty.
However, with infinitely more administrative and financial resources at their disposal, pro-goverment parties such as the ruling Republican and newly formed Prosperous Armenia parties are the biggest offenders. As a result, Armenia finds itself in an interesting situation where parties engaged in early political advertising will be able to spend more than the permissible level determined by law for the pre-election campaign itself. This then begs the question whether such activities are violating the electoral code or not?

The full post in English is at the CRD/TI Armenia Election Monitor 2007 here.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. About MIAK, someone in one NGO alleged yesterday that this was the brainchild of Armen Gevorgyan (Armenchik) in the President’s Office and that he’s calling the shots here. Can anyone confirm, deny or comment on this?

  2. Regarding the CRD/TI Armenia post btw, it was a joint effort with the first half (political advertising) penned by me as the Administrator of the English section of the site, and the second half (Prosperous Armenia student bus) penned by Zara, the Administrator of the Armenian side of the blog.

  3. ok – i’ll update accordingly, thanx for the hint Onnik

  4. what’s Zara’s last name btw?

  5. I can conform that British Alumy have had a meeting with Armenchik.
    I can also share with you some concerns of mine regarding MIAK -)))

  6. oh – i’d love to listen!!! i think their entry into the politics from the marketing perspective was not very well timed – on the contrary, this was the worst possible moment, and not only this party won’t have any success, but it also will hurt the image of the BAA…
    and after reading their programme i’m even more concerned, they look like liberals, and sound very moderate opposition, but I’m still kinda lost here… who are they anyway?

  7. well, Ինձանից մի հատ post -))

  8. There has apparently been a split within MIAK precisely over the issue of timing of participation in the election. Some of those within the group wanted to instead wait until the next parliamentary election (2011, I suppose). Anyway, the word is that they certainly are not opposition although they profess not to be pro-government. Instead, they’re typically liberal — not one or the other. 😉
    Just one problem. Their apparent acceptance into the political game is reportedly down to Armenchik “informal involvement” which raises some potential issues of conflict of interest in the future. Anyway, there has been a split, with most of those leaving MIAK now apparently commenting on the ICHD blog. Of course, this is no surprise given that ICHD were one of the partner orgs for the MIAK NGO or whatever it was. Gets confusing in Armenia when the same organizations have different branches under the same name.
    One can only wonder if their appearance has been “approved” in order to prevent the “young, educated, professional” vote going to other political forces. Now, given that one member of UN who gave a speech at the Aylentrenk rally has been fired, it remains to be seen how two other members of UN who are politically active with MIAK are treated. If they don’t bow out of politics, will they be fired too? Certainly, they should be.
    Now, just one last point about my comment, Isabella’s response, and Observer’s comment. Blogging is fast becoming a failure in Armenia for a number or reasons.
    i) Armenians can’t consider themselves as partners to each other and everything becomes personal rather than professional. Small groups of people who think the same or believe they are of the same political background are grouping together and as a result movements or the political process can not evolve.
    Once again, the “clan mentality” comes to the fore and people start preaching to a small number of the converted rather than reaching out to a new audience which actually constitutes the majority.
    ii) The information that is really of interest is NOT being blogged. Look at how much is being said out there and ask yourself where is it on blogs or even forums? Again, blogs are not being utilized properly at all, and even simple blogging etiquette is being ignored. It’s something I tried to change with my own Armenian Blog Reviews over a year ago, but I’m sorry to say that nothing has changed.
    Until we change this attitude and approach there will never be democracy in Armenia because Armenians by their very nature are not democratic.
    Anyway, it’s no surprise to me that Isabella knows more about MIAK than I do, but if I do, where is it being written? Why isn’t Isabella or anyone else writing it? And should she be writing it because Observer would “love to listen” or because as a blogger and a politically active person she should be doing so already? Of course, it’s her choice, but I wonder why Observer wants to listen to her and not me? Again, the message is not important, but who delivers it is.
    Well, anyway, like I said, blogs are still dead in Armenia — just like the pro-democracy movement. In fact, there is NO pro-democracy movement, and there are also some concerns being raised about other movements as well. Let’s face facts. Each is just one group of people with their agenda and another with theirs. However, this whole attitude must change now, and I hope that at least bloggers can start taking their rightful role in the scheme of things sooner rather than later.

  9. Another issue, of course, is if MIAK is being accused of being under the influence of Armenchik, what about pro-HHSh forces? While this is obvious with Aylentrank, what about Sksel e? Some are now alleging that the movement is HHSh-linked.
    Armenia sorely needs real pro-democracy activities regardless of whether you’re pro-government or pro-opposition. Instead, I sometimes wonder if its possible as even “independent” groups or movements have hidden political agendas.
    Now, blogging and the ability to initiate discussion and debate from readers and critics on such issues would give us all some much needed transparency, but I see no sign of that happening either. Well, at least some response about MIAK, Aylentrank and Sksel can be expected here.
    Lots of rumors and speculation about. Now we sorely need some answers and two way dialogue.

  10. Onnik – that was refreshing – I admit! Thank you for speaking the God’s truth as usual. Armenian blogs have become really gettoized, and my own blogs (including this blog review), just as well. I accept the charges, and I’m ready for any suggestions to improve – do you have them?
    Can you train me? Would you consider being a coauthor (we can discuss the terms and conditions)? You can blame me for not being good enough, but not for deliberately trying to supress voices, and acting in an un-democratic manner!
    As to Blogs being a tool for democracy, for raising important issues – well, I have strong reservations about that. I don’t see anywhere in the world – that blogs are really acting as the voice of society, and they can’t be! Even here, in UK, with 60% internet penetration, blogs are the “elite” voice, the voice of the middle income, computer literate, relatively young people. Elderly people, children, the poor are only covered when those successful young computer gigs feel like covering them! And that’s even more so in Armenia… What is the solution? I don’t know – but I’m thinking about this every single God’s day! Help me if you can!

  11. […] Armenian opposition is just not serious urges East Meets West, characterizing all except Raffi [Hovhannisyan] in the Armenian opposition as greedy, self indulged, inept, corrupt, me first individuals , who do not deserve to become a … – more – […]

  12. […] opposition is just not serious urges East Meets West, characterizing all except Raffi [Hovhannisyan] in the Armenian opposition as greedy, self indulged, inept, corrupt, me first individuals , who do not deserve to become a … – more – […]

  13. […] Armenian opposition is just not serious urges East Meets West, characterizing all except Raffi [Hovhannisyan] in the Armenian opposition as greedy, self indulged, inept, corrupt, me first individuals , who do not deserve to become a … – more – […]

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