Sunday, 13 May 2007

“Triumph” for Kocharyan, or Opposition that failed people

Men look through a list at a polling station in Yerevan 12 May, 2007 Source of picture: REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili

Preliminary results of Armenian parliamentary elections came as no surprise. Opposition lost. On the surface, there were no serious irregularities. The elections day per se went ‘smoothly’, as international observers would say, “mainly in accordance with international standards”. It was the first time since independence from Soviet Union that western observers “hailed parliamentary elections in Armenia as a major democratic breakthrough for the ex-Soviet state, now set to be run by a coalition of pro-government parties that swept the vote” (AFP). AFP also stated, that “[this] conclusion was a triumph for president Robert Kocharyan and his government”.

Based on media reports, I felt that this time we made a step forward towards democracy. The overall “positive” conclusion of international observers may prove this, although there are some speculations that this was done taking into account some geopolitical interests, and in particular, potential concessions of Armenian side in Karabakh talks.

However, this time, under the intense monitoring of international community, the authorities used less obvious ways to influence the votes and get the results they wanted. They simply offered bribes, and many people actually went for it. There were numerous reports of vote buying, even outside the polling stations, and there were even reports of quarrel between bribers and bribed over the sum of money (!)… simply disgusting, to say the least!

But the ‘evidence’ presented by one of the leaders of Impeachment block Pashinyan about hundreds of thousands (!) false passports (of dead people or those who live outside Armenia now) printed out before the elections, used by authorities for voting and then destroyed… It seems just too much from fantasy field (even for Armenian authorities’ standards). Unless Pashinyan can actually present real evidence of these ‘facts’ and act upon them, he’d rather shut up. It’s a loser’s attitude. Did they frankly believe that they could win these elections? During the whole election campaign, they were disorganised, without clear political platform, sunk in leadership battle, and therefore failed to unite, ‘looking forward’ to ‘fraud’ elections, instead of working on mechanisms to make the elections clean and monitor them properly and so on and so on.

Opposition lost the elections; they did not get support of international observers. But most importantly, they failed to win trust and support of Armenian electorate, even considering electoral fraud. There are presidential elections on a horizon, and time is running out for real actions, or otherwise there will be another lost election.

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