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Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Independent MP Viktor Dallakyan: a proposal to defuse political crisis in Armenia

Independent MP Viktor Dallakyan presented his proposal today, which combines elements of EU/PACE and Armenian cultural representatives’ proposals:

- parliamentary commission to investigate events of 1 March [I personally would not trust commission within the current parliament and would prefer independent one]

- make steps towards allowing work of independent/pro-opposition A1+ and Noyan Tapan TV stations

- allow opposition representatives to voice their opinion via Public TV

- amnesty for those detained/arrested not involved in direct violence [I would go for their release by a court decision and not an “amnesty”]

- prepare for parliamentary elections in a year time, after necessary institutional and legislative changes

A sound proposal, overall.

7 comments:

nazarian said...

Ain't gonna happen. Even if they agree for another round of elections, they will still bribe, threaten and falsify them.

Onnik Krikorian said...

- parliamentary commission to investigate events of 1 March [I personally would not trust commission within the current parliament and would prefer independent one]

- make steps towards allowing work of independent/pro-opposition A1+ and Noyan Tapan TV stations

- allow opposition representatives to voice their opinion via Public TV

- amnesty for those detained/arrested not involved in direct violence [I would go for their release by a court decision and not an “amnesty”]

- prepare for parliamentary elections in a year time, after necessary institutional and legislative changes


Agreed on the need for an independent inquiry although perhaps the CE could monitor a commission, I don't know. However, if an independent body satisfies both government and opposition it should conduct matters.

However, I don't agree with A1 Plus as it will just pump out propaganda and no new license tenders are up anytime soon, I think. On the other hand, H1 and private stations must offer equal conditions.

Indeed, achieve that and A1 Plus isn't necessary anyway. I'd much rather independent stations than partisan ones -- and that means propaganda from both sides.

Like I said in a previous comment, I believe that early parliamentary elections would be a good way to please everyone, give people proper representation and counter the power of the president.

However, a year seems too soon although it shouldn't be later than 2 years. Certainly, a new properly representative parliament elected fairly cleanly is about the only way I can see some hope for democracy in Armenia now.

As I said before on your blog, I think the CE recommendations -- which are pretty much what Dalakian suggests minus A1 Plus and Noyan Tapan (PACE instead spoke about sorting out the media situation) -- are a good place to start to defuse tensions.

There will be no new presidential elections or even a second round after the Constitutional Court ruling, and so new parliamentary elections thrown in on top would be the only way to go forwards.

Besides, whoever was president the parliament of the type we have now would merely support them even if it meant switching. This is NOT good for democracy when we need checks and balances. Indeed, I'd consider a proper parliament more important than the presidency for now.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Ain't gonna happen. Even if they agree for another round of elections, they will still bribe, threaten and falsify them.

Which leaves us in a situation which we can conclude what? That as Levon Ter-Petrossian, Robert Kocharian and Serge Sargsyan have stuffed ballots, intimidated voters, used force, and bribed the electorate that there will never be democratic elections in Armenia regardless of who is in power?

What's the solution then although I admit that the idea of holding free and fair elections in the countries of the South Caucasus is a naive one. We saw what happened in Georgia (a similar situation to Armenia but not so much different between actual and declared votes cast for Saakashvili) and all we can expect is gradual improvement.

However, with international oversight, a proper media on BOTH opposition and government sides, and REAL candidates running for parliament I can but hope that the chances are better than not for improving and getting a more representative parliament.

Otherwise, I don't understand what you're saying. That we'll never have democratic elections in Armenia? This is too defeatist, in my opinion. Instead, it will take time -- and perhaps more time than any of us would like. However, we have to really start on this road.

nazarian said...

Onnik, the solution is simple - dismantle the banditocracy that is the state. Did you ever imagine that there were so many policemen and so much police equipment in Armenia? The state apparatus will need to be cut at least in half.

With fewer people available to intimidate voters they (whoever is at the helm of the government) will have a lesser capability to rig elections / kill civilians / push the country towards doom.

The solution is simple but getting to it is very very difficult and is lined with blood as March 1 proved.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Well, I'd definitely agree that there is an urgent need for reform of the police. However, while I could see their numbers being reduced, I'm not sure they're so well-equipped. Indeed, I think this is part of the reason why the military were called in so soon. Most of the Armenian police are scruffy or overweight.

This was the problem in Georgia in November and reason for the state of emergency there too. The police just weren't able to deal with such situations and international money is reportedly pouring in to resolve that.

What we need is actually a better-equipped police to deal with riot situations, but just as importantly, they need to be trained so that keeping order is automatically in their minds rather than what usually happens.

As for dismantling the "banditocracy" I just don't see how that can be achieved. Not only was Serge reliant on it to come to power, but Ter-Petrossian needed it to come to power also hence why one minute the Manvels, Tsarukian's and Lady Hakob's were public enemies and the next, "moral men" and patriots who never did a thing wrong in order to get them to switch sides.

While you'll disagree, I couldn't see the possibility for any dismantling happening under Levon. Besides, this is as much his system as it is Kocharian and Serge's. Basically, as I said, the process of democratization is going to slow and continual in Armenia and there will be failures and setbacks as well as progress even in the best case scenario.

Anyway, not that I have any say in the matter, I'd definitely go for the PACE recommendations with the addition of new parliamentary elections. If necessary to alleviate concerns about political bias on TV (although Yerkir Media TV showed it is possible to be better) A1 Plus could be included as Dallakian suggests.

However, in any new elections I'd like to see that neither opposition or government media favor one candidate over another or engage in mud-slinging or spreading disinformation. Is it possible? Well, that's the million dollar question.

I can't see any other way out of this situation and if conducted properly could lead to change which would slowly see the other problems resolved too. Like I said, I wouldn't expect elections as we have them in the West in Armenia regardless of who is in power.

But I do believe it is possible to achieve some real change if there are enough checks and balances. However, I would repeat again that ALL those responsible for voting irregularities and falsification must be prosecuted.

And I mean ALL of them, and not some, if the evidence is there. Certainly, a number of people are on video and that would be a good place to start as well.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Oh yeah, and we urgently need a program of civic education in the school curriculum, but that's for the future, perhaps.

reflective said...

dismantle the state?

When you sober up, think about what you are saying.