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October 27, 2011

ACNIS Explores Limits and Opportunities of Political Forces and Society

Yerevan—In light of most recent domestic political developments in Armenia, the Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) today convened a policy roundtable to look at the extent of opportunities of political forces and civil society. The meeting brought together representatives from international organizations and the diplomatic community in Yerevan, leading analysts, policy specialists, and members of the press.

ACNIS analyst Saro Saroyan welcomed the audience with opening remarks. “Today’s agenda of discussion is dictated by some shifts in political life of Armenia, activation of coalition parties and opposition, resembling a pre-election campaign,” Saroyan noted.

In his intervention, ACNIS Director of Research Manvel Sargsian examined the ways of institutionalization of political parties in the absence of free elections and effective system of justice. Sargsian considered the problem as hard to be solved since, according to him, oligarchic regime is considerably supported by a number of political forces. Therefore, as the speaker maintained, the modification of political configuration will not result in the establishment of democratic regime in Armenia. “The problem is that due to the absence of proper conditions for political parties to fulfill the functions enshrined in the Constitution, the political parties are engaged in the bargaining with the incumbent regime to get political and economic privileges. Sargsian concluded that under such circumstances the practice of making agreements on distribution of the spheres of influence, as the anchor of oligarchic regime, will sustain.

The next speaker, ACNIS analyst Edgar Vardanian, offered his vision for the avenues toward democratization along with the public opinion on the latter. According to the analyst, it is of high importance to find something in common within the perceptions available to consolidate people and develop a comprehensive agenda. “The aim of coming into power should be distinct from the mechanism of forming the government, as the first one is a very narrow political aspiration and can not become a consolidating factor. The society needs another type of state - system change - namely, more comprehensive and broad concept,” Vardanian stated. The analyst also stressed that in Armenia democratic mechanisms have not been established yet, including the means of political power formation.

The presentation was followed by a series of questions and answers, and featured a lively exchange with the audience.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) is a leading independent strategic research center located in Yerevan, Armenia.  As an independent, objective institution committed to conducting professional policy research and analysis, ACNIS strives to raise the level of public debate and seeks to broaden public engagement in the public policy process, as well as fostering greater and more inclusive public knowledge. Founded in 1994, ACNIS is the institutional initiative of Raffi K. Hovannisian, Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Over the past fifteen years, ACNIS has acquired a prominent reputation as a primary source of professional independent research and analysis covering a wide range of national and international policy issues.

For further information on the Center call (37410) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (37410) 52-48-46; email root@acnis.am or info@acnis.am; or visit www.acnis.am.

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