Two major speeches – by president Serzh Sargsian and ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosian, and one major silence, by founder of “Heritage” opposition party Raffi Hovhannisian defined the Armenian political landscape this week.
Continue reading “Armenian politics: two major speeches, one major silence”
“In a damning indictment of Armenia’s rapprochement with Turkey, opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian accused President Serzh Sarkisian on Friday of scuttling U.S. recognition of the Armenian genocide and gaining nothing in return,” RFE/RL reports. Addressing thousands of supporters rallying in Yerevan, Ter-Petrosian charged that Sarkisian’s apparent acceptance of a joint Turkish-Armenian academic study of the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire amounted to “genocide denial.” Continue reading “Controversial Ter-Petrosian criticises Armenia-Turkey 'roadmap'”
The controversial trial of ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosian’s 7 prominent supporters de-facto ended today – separated into isolated cases by the ruling of judge Mnatsakan Martirosyan. The charge for “usurpation of state authority by force” was dropped, making the now separate cases against the oppositionists more “politically neutral”. RFE/RL carries the news:
The new twist in the so-called “case of the seven” resulted from the newly enacted amendments to Articles 225 and 300 of the Armenian Criminal Code used against the prominent supporters of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian. The articles deal with provocation of street violence and “usurpation of state authority by force” respectively.
The judge ruled, that the seven oppositionists should stand separate trials for “provoking mass disorders and violence”, while the charge of “usurpation of state authority”, which was the main charge politicizing the case, was dropped.
While this means, that the trials will continue beyond the deadline of PACE April session, it also means, that the opposition will have fewer arguments in claiming that the seven oppositionists are “political prisoners” at the PACE’s upcoming session.
It will also disperse the “high profile” cloud from the case, making it harder for the society to follow.
All of this looks like a thoroghly considered plan for putting the oppositionists in jail for good (BtW: Shant Harutyunyan’s case had been suspended earlier in March while he undergoes psychiatric examination).
It also signalls the decisive stance of the authorities to punish political dissidence as the country heads into Yerevan’s municipal elections.
“There is a large segment of the electorate that finds it hard to vote for Levon Ter-Petrosian,” Hovsep Khurshudian, the “Heritage” spokesman told journalists today, defending his party’s refusal to back former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s candidacy for the post of Yerevan mayor.
“Heritage” (Zharangutyun), which is led by former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian, decided late Monday not to form an alliance with Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) for the May 31 municipal elections. Continue reading “Heritage spokesperson: “Large segment of electorate finds it hard to vote for Ter-Petrosian””
Armenia’s main opposition alliance has decided to contest the forthcoming municipal elections in Yerevan and nominate its top leader, former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, as its candidate for the post of city mayor, RFE/RL reports.
Speaking on behalf of the Ter-Petrossian led Armenian National Congress (HAK), Levon Zurabyan said opposition block views the upcoming elections as the “second round of presidential elections”. The oposition spokesperson said, that given Yerevan’s political and economic significance, they see this as an opportunity “to change the existing dictatoral system in Armenia”.
It is of course hard to beleive, that the former president would actually want to serve as the mayor of Yerevan, but it’s quite easy to see, how this decision overhauls the otherwise predictible ‘elections’ and seriously damages incumbant mayor Gagik Beglaryan’s chances to be elected.
Citing major challenges faced by Armenia due to looming economic crisis and strained regional ties, opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian on Sunday addressed a rally to mark first anniversary of the 2008 post-election clashes in Yerevan, saying he’ll have to “disappoint” radically minded supporters and rejected call for “decisive action” for the time being. Continue reading “Opposition leader predicts “humanitarian crisis” in Armenia”
As one year anniversary of March 1, 2008 deadly clashes between the opposition protesters and military police forces looms closer, there’s growing tension in the society. Police and opposition mutually warned each other today not to stir further tension.
Major-General Alik Sargsian, chief of the national police, made clear that the police will not try to disperse thousands of people who are expected to rally on Sunday to mark the first anniversary of the 2008 post-election clashes in Yerevan. “The police are very calm,” he said. “Nothing [bad] is expected on March 1. Our people understand everything.” Continue reading “There's something in the air…”
Armenian Police prevented the attempt of a group of 20-30 young opposition supporters to hold a protest-action in front of Armenia’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) “to mark one year of the elections faked on February 19, 2008.” today.
At 14:30 about 30 young oppositionists came up to CEC building, bearing posters and three-colored flags and chanting, “Serzhik, go away!”
The demonstrators had hardly moved for 10 meters when the representatives of law enforcement bodies rushed to tear the posters and leaflets. They tried to arrest some of the demonstrators but failed due to the interference of opposition politicians – Vladimir Karapetyan, Aram Manukyan and Zaruhi Postanjyan (MP).
The opposition is planning to conduct a big rally and a march on March 1, to commemorate the 10 victims of the events of March 1, 2008. Yerevan Municipality has not authorised the rally and the march, although the opposition claims the Municipality has responded to their notification about the event after more than 72 hours defined by RA Law on “Meetings, Raalies, Protests and Demonstrations”, which would technically mean that the rally is authorised.
Municipal authorities in Yerevan have banned a rally which the Armenian opposition plans to hold in the city center on the first anniversary of the March 1 deadly clashes sparked by the 2008 presidential election, RFE/RL reports.
The authorities have proposed the opposition to hold the near Yerevan’s “Dynamo” stadium, just outside the city center.
Artak Zeynalyan of “Hanrapetutyun” party had presented a formal notification to the municipality on February 9th about their intention to hold a rally in the area next to Yerevan’s manuscript museum – Matenadaran or the Northern Avenue, to be followed by a march to Myasnikyan statue – the location of March 1 violent clashes between opposition supporters and the police. Continue reading “Armenian opposition rally banned on March 1”
E-channel has a detailed update on yesterday’s opposition rally – Reporter_Arm stayed till the end of the rally to give you the objective picture. Bored with all the rallies of the year, I left at around 19:30, when it became evident, that the maximum number of supporters will peak at around 5-6,000 – which is the smallest rally with the participation of Levon Ter-Petrossian that I’ve seen this year yet. It is, however, too early to speak of final breakdown of the opposition. On the contrary, it seems the opposition has finally decided to move away from rallies and revolutionism, and start actually engaging in politics.
Postponing the rally of September 5th not to hinder the Turkish president’s visit is one sign of this, participation in elections of Yerevan District Mayors is another. And accounts of yesterday’s rally also ring positive bells, albeit with silly distractions like the speech of Armenia’s cheif Marxist.
David Shahnazarian, for example, has said, “We have to understand, that it is not time for abrupt actions by the Movement at the moment”, noting, that the opposition movement should be careful not to become a tool in the hands of foreign powers.
Levon Zurabyan has set the future agenda of the Movement, saying the logic and rules of the game have now changed, and the opposition will avoid direct confrontations and engage in the sphere of ideology instead.
Speaking for around half an hour, Levon Ter-Petrossian has analyzed the geopolitical situation around armenia, and noted, that these are hard times for Armenia’s foreign politics. The Movement should take care not to harm the Country and the people, opposition leader has said.
No march in the streets of Yerevan has followed the rally. Although the opposition has explained it with the desire not to undertake illegal actions (as the march would have been unsanctioned), it is more likely, that the decision was taken because of small number of rally attenders, which would have made an embarrassing sight if stretched in a march.