Three O's of Armenian politics: will former authorities return to power?

Three O's of Armenian politics: will former authorities return to power?

In anticipation of the parliamentary elections in Armenia, there are consultations about the formation of alliances before elections. Experts attention is focused on the talks between ex-Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan, "Unity" party, led by former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanyan and "Heritage" party, which is also led by former Foreign Minister Raffi Ovannisyan. 

Seyran Ohanyan, who announced his participation in the elections last year, may become real leader of recently formed party "Third Republic". The party was created by former official representative of the president in parliament Victor Dallakyan, who suddenly left his position and the ranks of ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA). However it's not the first time he leaves the RPA - in 2003, after the first round of presidential elections, Dallakyan, who "fought for justice", joined the opposition, led by Stepan Demirchyan. During opposition rallies he angrily spoke out against the regime. During same year's parliamentary elections Dallakyan became MP from "Justice" opposition block. A few years later Dallakyan's work in the opposition camp was completed and he returned to the RPA.

Seyran Ohanyan

Participants of pre-election consultations do not exclude the possibility of forming a block and joint participation in the elections. After the meeting with ex-Defense Minister, Oskanyan said that the chances of a possible alliance are very high. But many observers are suspicious of this block. Experts are puzzled by Dallakyan's "political flexibility" and the prospect of Ohanyan participation in the opposition field, since he held many important posts for about 9 years and was also part of President Serzh Sargsyan's inner circle. Chances of Oskanyan's and Ohanyan's electoral success are pretty low due to belief in society that Oskanyan is being manipulated by ex-president Robert Kocharyan.

Vartan Oskanyan

Opinions regarding authorship of this project are divided. Some experts believe that the president if behind this block. Most of them believe that the work of future block will be coordinated by Kocharyan, who plans to once again use Oskanyan, as well as take advantage of the fact that ex-defense minister dislikes president who made Ohanyan resign. However Kocharyan, who is very unpopular in society, is not the only issue for success of Ohanyan and Oskanyan in the opposition. Considering difficult situation in the economy and in the social sphere, almost the entire electorate of Armenia participates in protests today. 

Another important factor is associated with how both officials view the events of March 1, 2008. It should be noted that there are serious disagreements in the "Heritage" party, which is perceived by the population as opposition, about entering the alliance with Oskanyan and Ohanyan precisely because of their participation in the events of March 1. According to one of the members of this party, head of parliamentary faction of the same name Zaruhi Postanjyan, the cooperation with them is unacceptable. But right now the leader of "Heritage" party Raffi Ovannisyan and his deputy Armen Martirosyan continue the talks, showing more and more tolerant attitude towards the figures of former ministers. 

Raffi Ovannisyan

Recall that on March 1, 2008, then Foreign Minister Oskanyan justified the state of emergency before foreign diplomats and journalists. He also made a statement that protesters were armed. Later, despite all efforts of the authorities, these accusations have never been confirmed. Then-Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Ohanyan is associated with those who led an army against civilians, carrying out Kocharyan's order. In his speech on March 1 Ohanyan urged citizens to refrain from attempts to go against the state of emergency. Otherwise, according to Ohanyan, any attempt to participate or to organize the events prohibited by the state of emergency "will immediately be punished by the armed forces of Armenia." 

Despite existing funds and fame of these figures, the chances of them receiving a significant number of votes can't be called high. It can be explained by such factors as second president's unpopularity in the society and negative public perception of Oskanyan and Ohanyan in connection with the events of March 1. Both of them could distance themselves from these events, but they took an active part in informational support of Kocharyan's illegal orders. The hype raised by their activity makes little sense, and any expectations for the future of this block are not entirely justified.