By Philippe Raffi Kalfayan
From the outset, I wanted to make clear that my analysis and opinions are based solely on the defense of principles and are not related to partisan interests. This point of view has led me to take personal public positions: against the constitutional reform of 2015 in which Serge Sargsyan sought the post of prime minister in early 2018, after serving as president. I launched an international petition in support of the peaceful demonstrations in April 2018 and praised the strategy that allowed then Member of Parliament Nikol Pashinyan, a longtime vocal opponent of the regime, to come to power.
Very early (mid-August 2018), I raised an alarm about the unsuitable revolutionary method used by the new prime minister, supported by an authoritarian and divisive discourse which relied on challenging the rule of law. Since then, I have regularly denounced the repeated attacks on the rule of law and the Constitution. It is in the name of these principles that I consider that the Pashinyan chapter must be closed.
The policy of hatred and division advocated by the prime minister is one that a small country cannot afford for objective reasons, including the outbreak of an intergenerational conflict. Yet, he continues the process of destroying traditional democratic institutions established since independence. The fight against corruption was beneficial for the electoral elections of December 2018. It could have been the basis for a transparent and public questioning, through the establishment of a truth commission, of the unjust enrichment of former members of the government. Pashinyan has made it, on the contrary, a means of extortion, or worse, blackmail, to silence any political opposition. In any event, it has resulted in an autocratic trend.
Pashinyan is hostage to his personal obsessions and is unchecked as he ignores all the constitutional safeguards. He has concentrated all power and has eliminated any opposing voices. A position of power without a system of checks and balances makes one easily blind, deaf and arrogant. It leads to a dangerous position not just for Armenia, but for Armenians.
The assault on the rule of law and its institutions in Armenia is comparable to that of Poland. On May 25, the European Parliament published a draft interim report denouncing unprecedented breaches of the rule of law in a EU country. The report denounced the usurpation of the powers of constitutional revision by the Polish parliament, the use of expedited legislative procedures, and total control of the judiciary by the Executive. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the former president, rules the majority party at the Dieta (the Polish Parliament). He is the real power behind the government and controls the National Assembly, all layers of Justice, and Public Media.