Regime built on fraud, fear, lies and corruption fits perfectly with the fraud constitution
Yesterday I lost.
I was defeated because I was hoping for the possibility of changes in Armenia using democratic elections and voting. Of course, there was no much hope to start with. A decade of election fraud, corruption and lost opportunities did not leave much space for that hope. But there was this tiny-tiny ray of hope that a breakthrough was nevertheless possible. But no. It was not.
The main reason of imposed by regime changes in the constitution was for current president Serj Sargsyan and his circle to stay in power in a foreseeable future. This referendum served only one goal - regime survival.
Even with artificially inflated by regime participation numbers, such a low official turnout (just above 50%) for constitutional referendum proves just how much this new constitution issue was imposed on people rather than generated by population demand.
This tweet @Kolya_H summed-up the mood on the day of referendum pretty well:
We don't #vote today to make our future brighter, but not to make it inevitably worse. #NO #ArmRef15It was great to see so many friends, including LGBT, being involved in monitoring of constitutional referendum as observers.
"Though I don't like to emphasize people's sexuality, but need to say many #LGBTQA people are actively involved in observation at #ArmRef15Local independent election observers and media reps did outstanding job exposing the fraud and fighting for each single vote of citizens to be count. They are my heroes of the day.
They fight for a better future in their country"
But what can intelligent non-corrupted observers do in the face of sheer brutality and attacks?! Culture of intimidation and violence ruled the referendum day, with many observers threatened, bullied, beaten, in the presence of police.
More and more people coming to the conclusion that it is impossible to get rid of current ruling regime in Armenia via elections. I am among those people.
I personally lost any faith in the election system in the presence of current regime.
I am now of opinion that as long as this ruling regime is in place, there is no longer a point in elections or voting. To hope that it will be possible to achieve clean votes for 2017 parliamentary elections is self-deceitful. The very reason why ruling regime imposed this constitution in the first place is to have at least 7 more years (and counting) of steady reign beyond their current formal end dates of 2017/18.
Of course, in 2017 more than 1 party will make it to the parliament. They need a cover of ‘multi-party democracy’. They will also ‘allow’ a proportion of votes for the Diaspora affiliated ARF Dashnaktsutyun political party that served them so well. [read also: Why ARF Dashnaktsutyun in Armenia suck big time] This will also aim to silence the voices of discontent in the Diaspora. Not that those voices were particularly loud, and in some cases instead serving as apologists for current regime, ‘justifying’ their support for referendum by support for parliamentary republic, conveniently 'blinding' themselves re referendum’s real implications.
We were defeated yesterday. I am saying “we" because it includes me, my friends, all those people who want a better future in free independent Armenia. We were gradually and continuously losing it over the last decade. But we don't have to keep losing. In the meantime, Armenia will continue its steady decline until something changes. Until people wake-up. Until public revolt. Youth revolt. Resistance.
I do not know yet which exact strategy will work the best, but I am sure smart creative Armenians, especially of younger generation, will find the right way. Sooner or later.
In the news:
Telling headline on BBC News: Armenia fraud claims mar referendum on constitution
Council of Europe - PACE: Referendum in Armenia was driven by political interests [full statement - here]
Observers statement: ARMENIA: REFERENDUM ASSESSED AS ILLEGITIMATE BY CITIZEN OBSERVERS AND EPDE
Preliminary statement on the conduct of the Constitutional Referendum Citizen Observer Initiative and European Platform for Democratic Elections
For background reading on additional implications of this constitutional referendum:
New draft of Armenia Constitution effectively bans same-sex marriage