By Edmond Y. Azadian
Armenia’s electoral atmosphere is heating up as the parliamentary election date gets nearer. Next May, Armenia will hold parliamentary elections, which will prove to be a litmus test for the presidential election in 2014. Speculations abound in the news media about possible realignments in the political spectrum.
One major question is hanging over all the discussions and speculations: Would former President Robert Kocharian throw his hat into the ring? Before completing his second term as president, Mr. Kocharian had indicated that he did not wish to become the youngest retiree in Armenia, leading to wild speculations.
After all, politics and politicians in Armenia walk in lockstep with Moscow. Kocharian’s master, Vladimir Putin, made his future political plans all too obvious when he handpicked Dmitry Medvedev to succeed him. As the latter’s term was nearing its close, Medvedev himself proposed Putin as candidate for the next presidential election.
Robert Kocharian certainly wishes to emulate Putin in Armenia. That is why he was very frank when asked about his future plans. He cited three conditions for his comeback: “1. Should economic stagnation continue to deteriorate the prospects of improving the social conditions, which, in turn, further increases emigration; 2. Demand by different strata of society for my return to big politics and 3. My personal conviction that I will be able to bring radical change to the situation.”
These are broad prospects to be able to measure in any meaningful way, and therefore they are open to various interpretations. Since the number of votes still do not determine the outcome of the elections in Armenia but only the plans of the people counting the votes, Kocharian certainly may have a chance for a comeback. Only the interaction of political forces and the formation of coalitions may frustrate his plans.