Wednesday, 01 April 2020

E Editorial

Snap parliamentary elections are unavoidable

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Vice-Speaker of the National Assembly Eduard Sharmazanov recently announced that the meeting of Babloyan-Pashinyan is important not because of the dialogue regarding the elections, but for the fact that it had demonstrated: "The National Assembly is not an appendage to the government of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. The legislative body is a separate branch of power."

Theoretically, Mr. Sharmazanov is right, but in practice the situation is quite different. It is clear that in a country with a model of parliamentary government, where the parliament is the highest legislative body, such a response of the vice speaker already sounds a bit strange. That is, it turns out that there is a need to deny that the parliament is not an appendage to the government.

The events that took place in April and May show the opposite: The Republic Square forced the prime minister to be elected (and, in fact, appointed) from a party with only three deputies in the parliament. Moreover, fear, inspired by the Square, has a decisive influence on the vote in the National Assembly.

This is a fact from which political conclusions should be drawn, which may be the following:

  1. The current parliament has no public confidence, which for more than two decades is the Achilles' heel of the political system of Armenia in relation to the electoral institution.
  2. The Prime Minister was elected by the Square and, as a result, is accountable to the public.
  3. The political forces of Armenia, including the opposition, however strange it may sound, even the parties of the "Yelq" faction, also do not have public confidence, or that confidence is very limited. In the end, the Square chose the prime minister, not the party or the government. It was a personalized choice.
  4. RPA, Prosperous Armenia, ARF (Dashnaktsutyun), Yelq faction, including the Civil Contract, as well as old and new parties awaiting their high point, in turn, must draw conclusions about the formation of a new political field. And the conclusions can be approximately the following:
  1. Nikol Pashinyan only expressed dissatisfaction of the public with the parties and the parliament. Instead, any other person could fulfill this role if he personally owned the confidence of the public and demonstrated determination.
  2. In the future, before the elections, the current parliament will not be able to regain its influence and form a new government without taking into account public opinion in case of possible loss of public confidence in the government and the prime minister.

Hopes that in the coming spring, if the government is overthrown, the parliament will be able to continue its work as usual, are false.

Snap elections to the National Assembly are inevitable, but before that, the parties must be able to present very clear agendas, because in the spring the public will choose not the personalities but the development path of the country.

Discussions in the press and social networks show that the times of "heroes" and "saviors" are passing. Nikol Pashinyan, perhaps, is the last "savior," and in the spring the public will make their choice for the sake of development.

The legitimacy of the elections is only a technical requirement, the substantive part of the agendas proposed by the parties will be far more problematic.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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Yerevan, Armenia


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