Armenia preparing for its ‘best elections’ in contemporary history
Armenia holds early parliamentary elections on December 8th. Post-revolutionary euphoria still makes acting Premier Pashinian popular. It also explains the date of holding the early elections as any hesitation in legitimization of power can lead to raising questions on the work done by the revolutionary government.
A shadow of the previous Armenian authorities will be hanging over the new power for a long time. It is reflected in the social group which used to live more comfortable and ignore corruptness of the authorities and low living standards of the population. Thus, the elections should be held as soon as possible to prevent restoration of the Karabakh clan’s power.
Nevertheless, Pashinian’s political alliance called My Step is thought to be a leader in the election race. Moreover, Civil Contract, a highly popular party, is included into My Step Alliance. It makes other political parties fight either for the second place or for getting to the parliament somehow.
As not much time left for election campaigning, newcomers of the Armenian political system failed to promote themselves. So the elections are an opportunity to make a statement for such parties as National Progress, Christian and People’s Renaissance, and Citizen’s Decision.
However, the upcoming elections will primarily legitimate Nikol Pashinian’s power. In Armenia, people traditionally vote for personalities rather than for a political program. So, the key fighting will take place between representatives of the Republican Party of Armenia and Pashinian who is criticized for absence of a clear position on Karabakh settlement. The fact that a personality plays the biggest role is explained by the lack of creativity and new ideas among all political actors of Armenia. Armenian voters don’t understand why they need to vote for a party and rely on personal skills of its leader. Pashinian sent his son to service on the line of contact in Nagorny Karabakh and the fact affected positively his popularity and election campaign.
There will be no competition between political programs and ideologies in the elections. The majority of the alliance’s members are unknown for the population. My Step, Civil Contract are political platforms which still have no ideology, certain vision on the country’s development and relevant programs. It’s too early to say that Civil Contract is able to hold power strongly – the party is still in the process of establishing.
Purity of the election process and coping with violations and falsifications of the elections’ results are top-of-the-agenda for Armenia. Various violating and falsifying schemes were used as far back as the 1990s in presidency of Levon Ter Petrosyan (I mean the parliamentary elections in 1995 and the presidential elections in 1996). However, falsification of elections’ results widely spread under Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan’s presidencies. They incorporated these schemes into the election system.
Political parties which have rejected participation in the elections, even though they have been thought to be permanent participants of all election campaigns, are the strict opposition to Sargsyan. They all think inside the box and fail to adjust to the new political reality. They are unable to attract voters with well-thought election campaigning. Thus, we can say that such parties as Armenian All-National Movement, the Communist Party, and Heritage don’t know how to change their strategies to overcome the current semi-margin position.