Armenia Politics

Artur Baghdasaryan Endorses LTP's Anti-Fraud Measures and That's It

“Orinats Yerkir, which is one of only two opposition groups represented in parliament, [] endorsed two anti-fraud amendments to Armenia’s Election Code that were put forward by Ter-Petrosian at a rally on Friday. Baghdasarian’s party said the proposed changes will be incorporated into its own package of election-related amendments which will be submitted to the National Assembly soon.” RFE/RL reports.
However, in a statement issued on Thursday, the “Rule of Law”(Orinats Yerkir) party, which is the leading Armenian opposition party by the number of Parliamentary mandates, “refused to support former President Levon Ter-Petrosian in the upcoming presidential election, saying that it will not reconsider its decision to field its leader Artur Baghdasarian’s candidacy.”
It is interesting, that unlike Vazgen Manukyan’s utterly negative attitude towards Levon Ter-Petrossian, “Orinats Yerkir” seems to have assumed a more flexible policy. With one hand they implement suggestions brought forward by LTP, with the other they refuse to support his candidacy. Does it mean Artur Baghdasaryan is sending a hidden signal, that under change of circumstances at some point he might still be ready to endorse Ter-Petrossian? Moreover, from the same source we find out, that:

At the same time the party said it is ready to work together with Ter-Petrosian and other opposition candidates in trying to ensure the freedom and fairness of the February 19 vote.


Vazgen Manukyan: "Levon Ter-Petrossian is indebted to our people"

This video of Vazgen Manukyan, which Uzogh has kindly posted on his blog, brings the criticisms of Vazgen Manukyan, the chairman of the National Democratic Union, and is “the first bell of warning for Levon’s Witnesses*” according to the blogger.

E-channel further reports:

The NDU chairman will not have a positive response to Levon Ter-Petrossian’s statement on November 16, urging “to join the national movement against Kocharyanaserzh state of robbers.”
As told by Liberty radio station, Vazgen Manukyan has said, “Levon Ter-Petrossian is indebted to our people. Levon Ter-Petrossian has been in power for 8 years. By being elected a president in 1991, he swore that all the state laws should be implemented, and promised that we would have Armenia as it is written in the declaration. After that, he violated all his obligations. In 1996, he stole the votes not from me – he stole the votes from you, from the whole nation. Now there are talks that commissions were working at that time, or something else… But that is a lie because it was the army that has voted several times and done ballot drop-ins. After all, at 12:00 or 01:00, when they saw that Levon Ter-Petrossian was being defeated, hey closed all the polling stations, threw out our people and calculated the way they wanted to do, after which acts of violence took place. When a person is indebted but takes no responsibility for that debt is able to skillfully explain everything without mentioning his responsibility. Has he come here to borrow from our people? I even think it was wrong for him to get nominated.”
“I don’t think that the task is about joining people together for dismissing “the famous forces.” These authorities must leave, that is unavoidable but who is coming instead? I see that the same forces will be in power… So, should we take the same carousel all the time?” Manukyan has continued, commenting on Ter-Petrossian’s speech.
As told by A1+, Vazgen Manukyan has also declared that if Serzh Sargsyan and Levon Ter-Petrossian pass to the second round in the elections, “it can turn Serzh Sargsyan into legitimate authorities.”

*As of late the Anti-Ter-Petrossian bloggers among the LiveJournal Blogging community have started calling Levon Ter-Petrossian’s supporters – Levon’s witnesses in analogy to Jehovah’s Witnesses Sect.

Armenia Politics

Serge Sargsyan Responds to Levon Ter-Petrossian

Prime-Minister Serge Sargsyan responded to some of the points made by Levon Ter-Petrossian during the opposition rally on November 16, 2007.
Speaking of the 3 year time period, Levon Ter-Petrossian said he needed to put things in normal and then resign from politics, Serge Sargsyan remarked: “Perhaps he thinks, that 3 years are enough to surrender Karabakh. For me the thoughts pronounced in his speech were very strange, but then, it is up to each one of us to decide, what to say and what suggestions to make“.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s a pity that Serge Sargsyan decides for himself “what to say and what suggestions to make”, because when he does it, it’s usually not coherent (remember the lapse about Armenians being the easternmost Christian nation in the world?).
We were just discussing the recent speeches with my collegue, Ashot Melikyan, the Chairman of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Speech, and he was remembering, how, Levon Ter-Petrossian spoke about freedom of speech in the times of his rule, whereas ARF-Dashnaktsutyun 13 media outlets were shut down during his time for their political orientation.
Similarly, Serge Sargsyan, Prime-Minister, a political figure who should be best prepared to answer with facts, figures and political prognoses, prefers to respond by claiming, that Levon Ter-Petrossian will “surrender Karabakh”, which is a dirty trick, to say the least, because at this point we haven’t yet heard Ter-Petrossian’s new proposals about Karabakh, and nobody has any ideas, what exactly LTP will propose as regards the Karabakh issue, as to the old suggestions, which were stated in the article “War or Peace”, I can state, that concessions and compromise do not necessarily mean “surrendering Karabakh”.
It really is a pity, that the quality of political debate is so low in Armenia, and it seems, that issues will once again be the last thing on candidates minds when campaigning for the 2008 Presidential election.

Armenia Economy Politics

President Kocharyan Speaks A Lot About Ex-President Ter-Petrossyan, but Says Nothing

President Robert Kocharyan seems to have taken Ex-President Levon Ter-Petrossian’s threats seriously. The incumbent president keeps speaking about his predecessor, and much like Ter-Petrossyan, who gave two long speeches already, but never said anything logical, sensible or at least original, Kocharyan also sounds like a tired, old gossip-monger.
“Our nation will never wish to return back to the 1995-96. I think many still retain bad memories of those years”, Kocharyan said in response to the questions of journalists on October 26, after taking part in the ceremony of opening the Iran-Armenia highway in Syunik (via Echannel). Now that’s a strange notion, isn’t it? Did LTP say he wants to take the nation back to 1995? I don’t think so, although that’s what all Hyelur Propaganda is about, and it seems, that this will soon become the motto of Republican campaign during the 2008 Presidential elections. Well, I guess they’ll have to think harder then that, if they plan to win this elections.
Of course there are some more logical points made the incumbent president, e.g. “There are at least 2-3 opposition politicians, who have higher authority”, or that “in 1999 they received only 1.1 percent of the vote, 2003 – 0.6, and 2008 – 1.3 percent[in the form of the Impeachment block]”. However, the President keeps stressing the bad memories of the mid-90’s, and notes “we will remind those who have forgotten”, adding  “perhaps HHSh have seen, that the economy is now restored, and are thinking about the new opportunities to rob the country. I think that is the reason why they have entered this presidential bid”. While this might be partially true for most candidates running for president in Armenia, this “thought” also exposes the true motives of Robert Kocharyan for wanting to be president and thinking of retaining power after leaving his post. So that’s what its all about, Mr. Robert Kocharyan? Robbing the country? Is that what you were there for all these years? Are those the only terms under which you judge the motivation to presidency?
Well, I guess I should just discard most of the other “brilliant” thoughts expressed by President Kocharyan, because they simply make no sense, however, I can’t neglect this top-nonsense, expressed on another occasion (via Echannel):

“Of course after the collapse of the USSR there should be certain [economic] losses. I estimate those losses to be no more then 15-20% in the course of the first 2-3 years, after which new projects and new investment approaches should be put in place to compensate for the losses. This is how it happened in the Baltic Countries, Belarus, partly in Ukraine. In Armenia however, the economy was literally destroyed in several years.”

Right! So Mr. President thinks it logical to compare Baltic Countries with Armenia, a country at war and economic blockade and present this appalling half-truth as his best argument against Ter-Petrossian, proudly declaring, that “one should speak about economy only if one understands what it’s about”?
Why on earth don’t we set up some basic IQ tests before we let these guys run for presidency?

Armenia Politics

Haylur Quiz of Public Opinion About Levon Ter-Petrossian on October 25, One Day Before Opposition Rally

One day before the rally by Armenian opposition, where the Ex-President of the Country – Levon Ter-Petrossian, now a probable presidential candidate for the 2008 elections is going to make a speech, Haylur reporter Tatevik Nalbandyan has gone on the streets of Yerevan – asking people’s opinion about the Former president.
Interestingly, although there are generally two quite opposing views in the country about the former President, with some seeing him as the only viable alternative to the current ruling elite, the material has been designed like an anti Levon Ter-Petrossian propaganda piece, showing only negative opinions, and not a single reference to the other side.
Needless to say, that this falls far below the criteria of objective journalism, and is especially worrying, because it was broadcast by the Public TV of Armenia, which is supposed to serve the public interest and reflect the Armenian society as a whole, and not just the ruling elite and its supporters.
And although my personal attitude to the Former President is negative, I’d like to have a chance of listening the opposite camp as well – after all, this is what the media in a democratic society is obliged to do: to help its citizens make an informed choice, no?