Monday, 21 April 2008

New government? I do not think so

Just very brief reflection of the newly formed government (finalised today). If there is one word to sum up my opinion, it would be disappointment (not that my expectations were high, but still...). Where is that highly PR-ed new government? I can’t see it. Essentially, it is the old new government, where there are same old faces, who merely changed their positions from here to there.

Another very apparent feature of this government is that it can hardly be called Serj’s government: looking at the members and influences, this is as much (if not more) Kocharyan’s government as Serj’s. It is obvious that there will be two competing forces in this government. At the moment, pro-Kocharyan block seems more powerful and influential. But Serj won’t be satisfied with the current state of affairs for long. There will be fierce internal battle ahead.


parisan said...

At the end of its five-hundred-year existence, the Phoenix perches on its nest of spices and sings until sunlight ignites the masses. After the body is consumed in flames, a worm emerges and develops into the next Phoenix. --Adapted from Wikipedia.

THe key words here would be "sings until sunlight ignites the masses."

artmika said...

And in line with my reflections, here are extracts from the RFE/RL report re government:

“Eleven of the 17 cabinet ministers named by Sarkisian since his April 9 inauguration occupied the same positions in the previous government that stepped down following last February’s presidential election. The most prominent of the other ministers is Armen Gevorgian, the longtime head of the presidential administration and Kocharian’s confidante. In an indication of Kocharian’s continuing influence on government affairs, Gevorgian, 34, was appointed as deputy prime minister and minister for local government in place of another influential figure, Hovik Abrahamian. Abrahamian, who was Sarkisian’s election campaign manager, will now serve as the chief of the new president’s staff.”

“Speaking to university students in Yerevan on March 12, President Sarkisian hinted that the new government will be radically different from the previous one. “There will be changes which many people do not expect,” he said. Few of those changes proved unexpected, though.

Victor Dallakian, an independent parliamentarian close to some HHK leaders, claimed that Sarkisian planned a more radical government shake-up but eventually had to keep many unpopular Kocharian loyalists in the government because of the former president’s decisive role in the violent suppression of post-election opposition protests.”

Onnik Krikorian said...

Can we at least hope that any internal conflict might lead to a collapse sufficient enough to see early parliamentary elections called? What do you think?

artmika said...

I can only hope, Onnik. But that collapse might prove to be even more substantive...

reflective said...

First I doubt that early parliamentary elections will do anyone a favor, least of all the fragmented and confused opposition. I would guess that a few years are needed for new leaders to emerge and be cultivated that have a chance of rallying more than a few thousand people. And imagine if rapid-fire elections are called for? Not much different in the way of results, and only more false-hope inflated delusions only to result in unnecessary hopelessness.

And if the conspiracy theory is true that Kocharian encouraged the goading by LTP of the authorities to push a reaction...then how ironic that the radical opposition was played by both LTP and Kocharian. LTP got his personal revenge and was able to drag Armenia's image down while Kocharian was able to weaken Serj's hand enough to maintain positions of power in the new government.

Lesson learned: Beware the call to use, as you may end up being used!!

Haik said...

Considering that the Armenian State is bankrupt, the economy is in recession and the world economy is in slowdown the Phoenix will stop singing even before the sunlight.
This is now an economical revolution, just look at the trends. The prices are in rise ( mostly artificially), the natural gas price rise is brutal, the remittances are diving even deeper because of the strong AMD, insecurity in the west. Add to this the unjust and soaring tax rates burdened on regular people. The only way out of those horrible trens would be educated, dedicated, honest and competent government + unity.
We don’t have either, If the elections were not falsified we would have better chances.
Coming to early parliamentary elections what will be the trick behind it or what will good would it bring to the current dictatorship? None and therefore this will not happen soon. Serj doesn’t possess a fake opposition party or there are no resources to create one. If he calls for a new elections they will go with the falsifications which will lead to the final collapse of the rhizome (or whatever is left of it). His main mistake was the revealing of Arturik’s true face. I read that Serj is a chess player, I should disagree I think he is a better blackjack player. Where the house eventually wins.
The dictatorship is finished.
When Levon said that this is going to be a Bourgeois democratic revolution I disliked it but again it seems he was right.

spm said...

The true crisis of government in Armenia is actually not who is the president. Imagine LTP has won and just who he might rely on to run his government? Are Stepan D. Aram S. or Nicol credible cabinet ministers? Can they run a professional, leave alone honest and non-corrupt government? Even worse scenarios if Vazgen M elected president or any other INDIVIDUAL.

There is only one party in Armenia that resembles political party. Unfortunately it is also a clandestine and nationalistic party that will immediately bring Armenia to collapse as in 1918.

Armenia urgently needs CREATION of political culture and political parties, otherwise elections are useless fight of one person against another with no ideology, no economic plan, no program and no professionals able to implement those programs.

Anonymous said...

I am Levon Ter-Petrossian's supporter but this doesnt mean that I wouldnt respect the people's true choice. So be that Serj, Manoukian, Hovhannissyan or Geghamyan I would respect that if that was the people's choice.
This hasent been respected by Serj and as a result we have an illegitemate govrenment.So
"Don't let the bastards wear you down".
Paykar paykar minchev verch.

grigor sargsyan said...


I understand your point on LTP and agree. But you are the first person who implied that Vazgen M might be worse than LTP. Can you elaborate?

[...]Armenia urgently needs CREATION of political culture and political parties[...]

I don't quite agree with this because I am not sure what you mean by political culture. I think what we need is a way to drag people out of politics and let the politicians fight their wars using their own means especially since they are not fighting to meet the needs of their voters. In that case, you'll see that politicians will actually be more keen to represent their voters. People, on the other hand, should fight for their own rights and not become a weapon in the hands of politicians. Be more cynical people, such times beg for cynicism. Unless such a change of attitude takes place in Armenia among the population, I don't see how we will in the near future move towards democracy whatever that is. We might get there naturally over the time, but 10, 20, 30 years just won't be enough.

grigor sargsyan said...

I really hope that there is no collapse. Such collapse could bring more violence and unnecessary waste of human energy on things that have a very very small chance of moving the country towards something good. I can only see the likes of Levons and Serjes coming out as winners, if such a collapse actually takes place. In the unlikely event that such a collapse might exhaust these two, and thus open up the way for more moderate ones, people might actually gain. But what are the chances of this and what exactly would they gain?

Anonymous said...

There are dozens of specialists,
who would've worked better than the current government officials,
they are mostly working either in the NGO sector or in the private sector or abroad.
The problem is that the President doesn't need professionals or even simply smart people, he needs LOYAL people.
The most loyal people are those who aren't smart enough to be able find a good job outside the government.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Coming to early parliamentary elections what will be the trick behind it or what will good would it bring to the current dictatorship? None and therefore this will not happen soon.

Which is precisely why I raised the question in response to mention of an internal conflict brewing. It's at times like this when fresh parliamentary elections are inevitable -- i.e. when government and parliament is in chaos or can't work together.

In terms of what it would bring to Armenia, given that the Republican vote was inflated last year through vote bribes it would perhaps create a more balanced NA as long as everyone took them seriously (last year, radical opposition prepared for another failed revolution, government parties bribed, only Heritage actually campaigned, international community treated "democracy" in Armenia with the cynicism it deserves).

And actually, I still consider the makeup of the parliament vital. The NA must counter the power of the presidency, and it's for this reason that given the personalities and track records of most presidential candidates -- and especially Sargsyan and LTP -- until that changes, Armenia is going to remain a dictatorship.

Basically, I ultimately believe that real power should lie with the parliament as long as it truly reflects the will of the people in all of its diversity. Without such a parliament, presidents in this part of the world are always going to authoritarian. The checks and balances to presidential power need to be in place.

Of course, it's a chicken and the egg situation, but given Ter-Petrossian's track record, I hardly see him as being able to offer anything different to what we have now. If collapse of government and huge problems in the NA lead to early parliamentary elections conducted properly, there is more chance for better presidential elections to be held the next time round.

Probably, we should all be taking local, (Yerevan) municipal and parliamentary elections more seriously than we do. Always focusing on the presidential elections has been a huge mistake, but is part of the culture and the obsession with king-like dictatorial figures.

Anonymous said...

NGO sector???

That is a joke. NGO sector by and large are grant-gobblers who if they are rich (USAID, WB etc) suck the young intelligent Armenians OUT of private sector/ entrepreneurship/ education/ public sector (where they could make a difference and/or create value) and have them running in circles on some western projects that often either undermine society (no stakeholder involvement) or make temporary feel-good measures that often swing back to the old situation after the $$ is gone.

I think this aid to Armenia + the cancerous NGO sector does more harm than good.

Anonymous said...

Onnik -
You said:
"only Heritage actually campaigned"

Not that I necessarily would have voted for them, but I thought that the ARF also campaigned on issues, both in parliamentary elections as well as during the presidential.

BTW, why didn't the Heritage party do anything constructive during the presidential elections? Why didn't they propose another candidate, given that Raffi was (unfairly) disallowed to run?

grigor sargsyan said...

[...] In terms of what it would bring to Armenia, given that the Republican vote was inflated last year through vote bribes it would perhaps create a more balanced NA as long as everyone took them seriously [...]

I can only applaud to your optimism. But didn't our recent elections show that any election will be contested violently between the two packs? I am just not sure what would happen. It could very well be that we will come out of it with a more balanced NA, but there is the other side of the story as well, and that side just doesn't sound good.

[...] I ultimately believe that real power should lie with the parliament as long as it truly reflects the will of the people in all of its diversity [...]

This is just one of those things that it is hard to disagree with, so I have no choice but to agree :)
But can it really happen soon?. I don't see this happening if people keep submitting themselves to political parties the way they did in the recent elections. ``as long as it truly reflects the will of the people in all of its diversity" is the conditional that makes the statement valid, and this is just really hard to achieve. Many I know claimed that they didn't agree with LTP and they didn't like his tactics but they hated Serj so much that they had to support LTP. Now wait a minute, what kind of mentality is this? It is just not clear what people want, and it feels like that politicians make them want this or that. I cannot really claim that it isn't like that in other parts of the world, but the times are such in Armenia, that people should really be aware of their wishes and stay as much neutral as they can.

But then again that is Armenia, people have strange perception of reality, like that an Armenian policeman would have ethical problems while beating an ethnic Armenian as if they are not trained to do just that. I hope they at least realized that police can and will use force if they want.

grigor sargsyan said...

[...]Probably, we should all be taking local, (Yerevan) municipal and ... more seriously than we do. [...]

Now, that is a very good idea. Change it from below. Go for it.