Representatives of Armenia’s ruling coalition and the main opposition force Armenian National Congress (HAK) met on Monday for initial talks, after which the sides expressed readiness to continue with the difficult political dialogue, which could lay the groundwork for a new, more democratic political culture in Armenia.
The first round of government-HAK discussions yielded no concrete agreements. Nor did the two sides agree on the agenda of the dialogue or set a date for the next talks. There is every possibility, that the dialogue will fail in the end.
Still, good for the authorities and the opposition for trying to actually talk, instead of making antagonistic statements each on their secure environment – authorities on state-controlled TV, opposition – on rallies of supporters.
Given the developments of the past two-three months, I am starting to see signs, that something positive may actually emerge from this dialogue. The fact, that there is a strong and mature opposition force ready to bring the ruling powers to account and put them in check when “absolute power starts to corrupt absolutely”, is certainly positive in my understanding of politics.
I also find it natural, that HAK is facing a lot of criticism by its rival political forces and even former allies. Among critics are the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF-Dashnaktsutyun), “Zharangutyun” (“Heritage”) parties, former HAK member Karapet Rubinian and hundreds of independent or pro-opposition minded people on social networks, blogs, etc. Critics accuse HAK of betraying its own ideals and statements, speaking on behalf of the people when they have no such mandate, trying to marginalize other opposition forces, etc. A lot of the criticism is quite justified, but that is not the point. The point is, it is good that there is this criticism, because it will put HAK in check too and save it from deals which wouldn’t take into consideration the widest possible interests of pro-opposition groups in the Armenian society.
Deal or no deal in the end – this dialogue was badly needed, if only to show a sign, that politics in this country is finally growing up. And please, please! Don’t accuse politicians, for not being angels, because they aren’t! They are, what they are…