Tuesday, 12 February 2008

History in making: Opposition unites behind Levon Ter-Petrosyan ahead of presidential elections in Armenia

In what could be considered the most significant development ahead of presidential elections in Armenia, one of the main and arguably most respected opposition party led by former foreign minister Raffi Hovhannisyan declared his support of Ter-Petrosyan’s bid for presidency. There are already reflections of this news in Armenian blogs (here and here).

The only option left for Arthur Baghdasaryan, leader of another opposition party and presidential hopeful, is to declare formally his support for Levon Ter-Petrosyan. Although I think that the best option for him would have been quitting the race before the formal deadline of 9 February, since his name will now remain in ballot papers and this may confuse some voters, but Arthur has now second best chance. As I predicted before, this coalition is the most likely and practical way to challenge current authorities. Sources from Baghdasaryan’s camp assured me few days ago that he supports Levon and is behind him and will declare it by 14 February. We now have to wait for formal confirmation. Any other turn of events would be very damaging for Arthur if he wants to retain his status as credible opposition politician.

I've made my position clear in one of my earlier posts and now want to confirm my support for Levon Ter-Petrosyan candidacy. It is now not a simple choice between prime minister Serj Sargsyan and former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan. It’s now a choice between ‘no change’ (Serj) and ‘possibility of change’ (Levon with Raffi and others). I choose change!


Onnik Krikorian said...

Re. Baghdasarian, more and more I think about this guy the more I tend to suspect he's playing both sides. There is no logical reason for him to not pull out on 9 February and to wait until 14 February unless he was simply hedging his bets and waiting to see.

Even so, having his name on the ballot was a stupid thing to allow, but anyway, that's politics, I suppose. Incidentally, this in itself is not enough to bring about a Ter-Petrossian victory, in my opinion, although it certainly will result in more support.

What's of as much interest to me is this rumored visit Ter-Petrossian and Arzumanian made to Moscow yesterday. So far it hasn't been confirmed from what I gather, but if true, it's potentially devastating for Serge depending on the purpose/outcome of the meeting.

Still, no confirmed news yet, but a few media outlets and journalists seem to think it has happened.

artmika said...

Actually, yesterday Arzumanyan himself confirmed to Radio Liberty that they visit Moscow

here is source (in Armenian), and I heard it on the radio too:

Onnik Krikorian said...

Hmmm, interesting. Wonder why few are reporting it so far? Would seem to be more important than it is so far, but anyway.I daresay more information will be forthcoming later in the day.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Oh, no Armenian fonts installed on this computer. Anyway, wonder why the English-language section didn't cover it albeit briefly. Given that we know how much influence and control Russia has here, the visit is of significant interest, I think.

artmika said...

It is pretty significant, no doubts about it. Whether we like it or not, Russia's influence is huge here, and the fact that during this crucial moment president-to-be Medvedev met Ter-Petrosyan may signall significant change in minds in Russia's political circles based on their re-assessment of Armenian realities.

Onnik Krikorian said...

RFE/RL have something in English tonight although there's actually not much info. Everybody is being quite tight-lipped.

artmika said...

In this case too, RFE/RL’s Armenian version proved to be much more interesting in terms of info provided. I would particularly recommend brief interview with a political commentator of Russia’s Public TV Mikhail Leontiev, who interviewed Ter-Petrosyan in Moscow. Leontiev is very knowledgeable person, close to Kremlin circles. Basically, what he is saying is that the main purpose of Levon’s visit to Moscow was to reassure Kremlin that what is happening now in Armenia is purely connected with internal matters and has nothing to do with changing foreign policy orientations.

As far as I could get from what Leontiev said, Ter-Petrosyan was successful in his reassurances and Moscow, in turn, re-assured Ter-Petrosyan that they will stay neutral.

As usual, everything connected with Russia reminds me detective story :-)

artmika said...

Arthur the loser, or the best hope for prime minister Serj Sargsyan