By Edmond Y. Azadian
The parliamentary elections are ahead in Armenia and so it is time for horse trading. The Republican Party, headed by President Serge Sargisian, is in an uneasy coalition with Prosperous Armenia Party (Bargavach Hayastan), headed by an oligarch, Gagik Zaroukian. Actually, the party was founded by former President Robert Kocharian, who still manipulates the group behind the scenes. The two parties formed a strong ruling coalition, allowing a small share of power to fall to Arthur Bagdassarian’s party, Country of Laws (Orinatz Yerguir). The coalition worked well, even when the ARF (Dashnag) party quit its partners. It worked because a Kocharian comeback was in the offing. As soon as that comeback was endangered, cracks began to appear between the coalition partners.
President Serge Sargisian has no intention of ceding his job to his predecessor and he is seeking a second term as president.
The official document, signed between the partners, to participate jointly in the forthcoming elections, was questioned from both sides. At this writing, nothing is certain — not even if the coalition will survive internal squabbling. March is the convention period; the platforms and tickets will be announced at that time. Meanwhile speculations abound.
A political analyst, Marietta Khachatryan, writing in the daily Azg, has covered this pre-election turmoil, reporting that the parties have already started the process of power sharing. For example, the Republican Party has already taken over 25-30 precincts, has ceded nine to the Prosperous Armenia and two to Country of Laws. She has also tried to come up with the opposition’s share in the future parliament, asking cynically at the end: “While parties are in the process of sharing the seats in the future parliament, no one gives a damn about the voters; after all, who is the voter to have a say in the elections?”
Every day a new development is revealed. The latest one was the announcement of former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian joining the Prosperous Armenia Party. His long-term cooperation with former President Kocharian could not lead him anywhere else. This move will give political character to a party, which was thus far Kocharian’s shadow in the parliament, headed by an oligarch.