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New Promising Era President Armen Sarkissian And VP Nikol Pashinian

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#321 MosJan

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 11:11 AM

Screenshot%202018-11-01%2020.54.30.png?1

 

 

Acting PM Nikol Pashinyan did not receive enough votes to be elected as a prime minister in a special session of the National Assembly on November 1, a result which Pashinyan had been hoping for and which will lead to snap parliamentary elections.

 

Armenia Set to Have Early Parliamentary Elections
Pashinyan Not Elected Prime Minister in a Second Round of Elections

Acting PM Nikol Pashinyan did not receive enough votes to be elected as a prime minister in a special session of the National Assembly on November 1, a result which Pashinyan had been hoping for and which will lead to snap parliamentary elections.

53 members of parliament out of 105 participated in the vote. There was no vote against or for while 13 MPs voted abstained.

This new “non election” is the second step in the process of triggering snap parliamentary elections which has been the main item on Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s agenda since gaining the post following the “Velvet Revolution’ past spring. Pashinyan hopes to form a National Assembly that is more “in line with Armenia’s correct political realities.”

Per Armenia’s 2015 constitution, snap parliamentary elections are automatically called for in the case where the sitting prime minister resigns and the National Assembly fails to elect a new prime minister during two consecutive sessions.

For this purpose, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan resigned on October 16.

Extraordinary elections will be held no earlier than 30 days and no later than 45 days after the dissolution of the parliament.

Pashinyan announced to journalists that the extraordinary elections will take place on December 9.

Following parliamentary elections, Pashinyan hopes to be elected as prime minister for a five-year term.

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#322 Yervant1

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 09:24 AM

Armenian diaspora is like a gold mine if treated fairly if not, it will be like mining a copper mine! Because diaspora Armenians have a big longing to the Motherland!

 

ARKA, Armenia
Nov 9 2018
 
 

 

Government to draw map of worldwide Armenians
 
 
 
 
384c876db0d1e5f072b468420ab40cb5.jpg?154
 

YEREVAN, November 9. /ARKA/. The Armenian government will draw a map of the worldwide Armenians in order to assess the overall potential of the nation, the acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said a meeting in Astana with representatives of the Armenian community of Kazakhstan.

“This is difficult, but important work. We need to consolidate the full potential of our people,” Pashinyan said, according to a press release distributed by his press service.

He said his impression from a series of meetings with members of the Armenian Diaspora in many countries is that Armenians are really a powerful nation with strong potential, which, unfortunately, is not used.

According to him, the ‘velvet revolution’ took place not only in Armenia, but also among the Armenians of the world. “We must together strengthen our homeland that  must become  the number one guarantor of the existence of Armenians,’ Pashinyan said.

"Our main omission was that no common goals were formulated and different parts of our people did not act together. We need to concentrate all our forces to achieve a single national goal. I think the most important feature of the ‘velvet revolution’ is that we have found new energy, new inspiration  to turn Armenia into a country that is able to protect itself, develop, become attractive for investment," Pashinyan stressed.

The meeting was attended by Armenians not only from Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, but also by Armenians located hundreds of kilometers away. Also a  delegation of Armenians from Uzbekistan was present.

Pashinyan was in Astana to attend a meeting of heads of states, which are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). –0—

http://arka.am/en/ne...ide_armenians_/

 

 


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#323 Yervant1

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:30 AM

Panorama, Armenia
Dec 5 2018
 
 
Pashinyan: This is a war against Armenia

 

"This is a declared war against the Republic of Armenia," Armenian Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in a live broadcast on Facebook commenting to the wiretapping phone conversation between him and the NSS Director leaked on Youtube on Wednesday.

"It's done for a simple reason. The corrupt system sees the circle around it getting narrower, something we had promised, and the promise will be realized step-by-step, immediately after the parliamentary election, and nobody will escape. All corrupt individuals will be held accountable on behalf of the people and the mandate of the people, because in essence, these conversations are published for their own salvation and for the salvation of the corrupt system. I have said before, and now I keep insisting that this is a war declared against the Republic of Armenia and a crushing defeat is expected for those who provoked this war," Nikol Pashinyan said.

He called on the citizens on December 9, regardless of the weather conditions, even if there’s snowstorm and flood, to go to the polling stations and vote for the "My Step" alliance.

"I want to remind you that this is first of all Prime Minister's elections. I hope to get a strong mandate from the citizens of Armenia to fight against corruption, to get every cent stolen from the people back, and finally to fight this war against the Republic of Armenia and the people of Armenia," the Acting Prime Minister said.
Nikol Pashinyan also said that on September 12, he touched upon the wiretapping at the National Assembly, and in that speech, he provided twice as much information as published in the material.

"The conversation is not complete. There are episodes which I have referred to during the NA speech and they have been cut and removed. Particularly, the part when the director of the National Security Service told me that the judge was scared, and I said, what it means, the judge is scared, the NSS is obliged to secure the judge's security and independence if you cannot ensure that, then you have a wrong way of working," he said.

The Acting Prime Minister also said that the actions of the head of the National Security Service and the Special Investigative Service director were within the scope of their official functions.

 

https://www.panorama...shinyan/2043231



#324 MosJan

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 12:50 PM

Հետախուզվող նարեկ Սարգսյանը franklin gonzales հայտնաբերվել է

 

 



#325 MosJan

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 12:54 PM



#326 Yervant1

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 10:48 AM

Armenia election: reformist PM Nikol Pashinian wins convincing victory

Former newspaper editor marks dramatic break from the cadre of rulers who have run Armenia since the late 1990s

Reuters

 

Mon 10 Dec 2018 05.59 GMT
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4836.jpg?width=300&quality=85&auto=forma
 Acting Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian casts his ballot in a polling station during an early parliamentary election in Yerevan, Armenia. Photograph: Vahan Stepanyan/AP

Armenia’s acting prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, has bolstered his authority after his political bloc won early parliamentary elections in the former Soviet country, the Central Election Commission’s (CEC) results showed.

My Step Alliance, which includes Pashinyan’s Civil Contract Party, won 70.4% of the vote on Sunday based on results from all polling stations, the CEC said on its website.

Results showed that two moderate opposition parties – Prosperous Armenia and Bright Armenia – got enough votes to clear the 5% threshold to enter parliament.

Pashinyan came to power in Armenia in May after weeks of mass protests against corruption and cronyism. The former newspaper editor, who was jailed for fomenting unrest in 2008, marked a dramatic break from the cadre of rulers who have run Armenia since the late 1990s.

He stepped down in October so parliament could be dissolved ready for the early election but remained the acting prime minister.

“Armenian citizens created a revolutionary majority at the parliament,” Pashinyan told reporters at his bloc’s headquarters after first results were published.

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“If this trend continues, the majority won’t face any problems in implementing legislative changes,” he said.

After a change of power in the South Caucasus country of around 3 million people, Pashinyan’s government sought to initiate changes to the electoral code. But the move was blocked by the former ruling Republican Party, which dominated the parliament.

The Republican Party received 4.7% of the vote and it was not clear whether it managed to enter parliament. Under Armenia’s constitution, 30% of seats in parliament must go to opposition parties.

Former high-ranking officials were sacked and some were arrested following the change of power. An appeals court ordered the detention of former President Robert Kocharyan on Friday on charges of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order.

He was first arrested in July but freed the following month, and the case was sent to the appeals court. Kocharyan was Armenia’s second president, serving from 1998 to 2008, when mass protests erupted over a disputed election.

Pashinyan promised after taking office there would be no major shifts in Armenian foreign policy and has offered assurances he will not break with Moscow. 
Armenia hosts a Russian military base and is a member of Russia-led military and economic alliances.

Pashinyan also suggested he would stick with existing policies on the long-running issue of Nagorno-Karabakh.

A mountainous part of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh is run by ethnic Armenians who declared independence from Baku during a conflict that broke out as the Soviet Union crumbled in 1991.

Though a ceasefire was agreed in 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia still regularly accuse each other of conducting attacks around Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Azeri-Armenian border.

 



#327 Yervant1

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 10:50 AM

Armenia election: PM Nikol Pashinyan wins by landslide
_104703925_pashinyan.jpgImage copyrightREUTERSImage captionProtest leader-turned PM Nikol Pashinyan spearheaded Armenia's "Velvet Revolution"

Armenia's acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has won a convincing victory in Sunday's snap parliamentary election, consolidating his authority.

His bloc won more than 70% of the vote, the country's election commission said.

A journalist turned politician, Mr Pashinyan spearheaded a peaceful revolution in April.

He now has a parliamentary majority to push through his programme of tackling corruption and reforming the economy. Poll turnout was low, at about 49%.

Historically, Armenia's elections have been marred by fraud and vote-buying.

However, international observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said the elections had respected fundamental freedoms and were characterised by genuine competition.

What is the result?

Final official results show that the centrist My Step Alliance, which includes Mr Pashinyan's Civil Contract Party, won 70.4% of the vote.

Its nearest rival, the moderate Prosperous Armenia party won just over 8%. Led by tycoon and arm-wrestling champion Gagik Tsarukyan, it was part of the ruling coalition in the outgoing parliament.

_104710702_armwrestler.jpgImage copyrightTASS VIA GETTY IMAGESImage captionOligarch Gagik Tsarukyan's Prosperous Armenia party will be part of the new parliament

Bright Armenia, a liberal pro-Western party, won about 6% of the vote, the commission said.

Each party needed at least 5% of the vote to enter the 101-seat National Assembly.

Armenia's constitution states that 30% of seats in parliament must go to opposition parties.

What will it mean for Armenia?

At a polling station in the capital, Yerevan, voters said they hoped Mr Pashinyan would be able to deliver the ambitious changes he had promised.

One woman, who gave her name as Narine Harutyunyan, said she felt "very optimistic," adding, "I hope that my vote is going to play a role so that there will always be a smile in the eyes of Armenians."

_104710699_armeniaprotests.jpgImage copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGESImage captionMr Pashinyan was chosen as PM after a wave of popular protests in the spring_97415642_007_in_numbers_624.png

Analysts say the 43-year-old will aim to keep his promises while staying in the good books of Armenia's key ally, Russia.

A former Soviet state of three million people, Armenia hosts a Russian military base and depends on Moscow for its security.

Mr Pashinyan has said he hopes to "step up co-operation with the United States and European Union".

How have the PM's critics reacted?

The revolution led by Mr Pashinyan ousted the country's 10-year President Serzh Sargsyan, a member of the Republic Party. He was accused of clinging to power after taking on the newly-enhanced role of prime minister when his term ended.

Now senior Republican Party figures have accused Mr Pashinyan of trying to turn Armenia into 1930s Germany, and of becoming a Hitler figure.

His critics say his "cult of personality" will weaken multi-party democracy.

_104710697_voters.jpgImage copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGESImage captionInternational observers monitored the polling process_97415642_007_in_numbers_624.png

Armen Ashotyan, vice-president of the Republican Party, complained before the election that "all political parties were deprived of time to prepare well".

He added that he expected "so-called post-revolutionary euphoria" would be reflected at the ballot box.


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#328 MosJan

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 03:07 PM

Serj Tankian lauds Armenia elections as "momentous occasion"
Serj Tankian lauds Armenia elections as
December 10, 2018 - 11:27 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - System Of A Down frontman Serj Tankian has lauded the snap parliamentary elections held in Armenia on Sunday, December 9, describing the day as a "momentous occasion in Armenian history."

My Step alliance led by Armenia's acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has secured a convincing victory in Sunday's snap parliamentary election, with 70.43% of all the ballots cast in their favor.

"The people of Armenia have made their voice heard loud and clear so much so that the previous ruling parties (the RPA and ARF in Armenia) couldn’t even garner the 5% threshold to enter Parliament! This will give acting PM Pashinyan the mandate to follow through with further reforms and pursue programs to create much needed economic development within the country," the artist said in a Facebook post.

"Entities, previously protected by the state, who have been involved in flagrant corruption and injustices enacted upon citizens of Armenia for years will be brought to justice or pay their dues."

According to Tankian, the Armenian diaspora can no longer be "a distant viewer" waiting to see what will happen.

"It happened. It’s time to participate in the enrichment of our homeland," he said.

"This is truly a momentous occasion in Armenian history and a victory we should cherish."

On Sunday, Tankian and former lawmaker Armen Ashotyan from the Republican Party of Armenia traded verbal blows, as the former described the former ruling authorities as a "corrosive, unjust, corrupt regime."

 

http://www.panarmeni...ng/news/263309/



#329 MosJan

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 03:09 PM

the true start of an Promising Era


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#330 MosJan

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 03:10 PM

Armenia elections respected fundamental freedoms: OSCE
Armenia elections respected fundamental freedoms: OSCE
December 10, 2018 - 15:20 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The early parliamentary elections in Armenia were held with respect for fundamental freedoms and enjoyed broad public trust that needs to be preserved through further electoral reforms, the OSCE international observers concluded in a preliminary statement released Monday, December 10.

Open political debate, including in the media, contributed to a vibrant campaign, although cases of inflammatory rhetoric online were of concern, the statement says.

The general absence of electoral malfeasance, including of vote buying and pressure on voters, allowed for genuine competition, the observers said. Despite the shortened timeframe, the elections were well administered, although the integrity of campaign finance was undermined by a lack of regulation, accountability and transparency.

The media environment is diverse and the freedom of expression, guaranteed by the Constitution, was respected, the statement said.

The statement also highlights that, while there was general confidence in the accuracy of voter lists, those declared incapacitated by courts are not entitled to vote, contrary to international standards on the political rights of persons with disabilities. Contrary to previous recommendations, the right to file election-related complaints is largely limited to party proxies and commission members.

The statement also notes that the prohibition of those holding multiple citizenship from being candidates is in contradiction to OSCE commitments and case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

 

http://www.panarmeni...ng/news/263336/



#331 MosJan

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 03:11 PM

Armenia’s CEC sums up initial results of Sunday’s elections
The Central Electoral Commission (CEC) of Armenia has summed up the preliminary results of the snap parliamentary election held on Sunday, 9 December.

The commission approved a protocol on the election outcomes at today’s special session. CEC Chairman Tigran Mukuchyan presented the results received from the 2,010 polling stations, according to which 1,262,164 people, or 48,67% of eligible voters, cast ballots in the voting.

4,675 ballot papers were declared invalid.

The votes have been distributed in the following way:
Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) – 4.7% or 59,068 votes
Citizen's Decision Social Democratic Party – 0.68% or 8,533 votes
ARF – 3.89% or 48,822 votes
My Step bloc – 70.44% or 884,849 votes
Bright Armenia party – 6.37% or 80,049 votes
Christian Democratic Revival Party – 0.51% or 6,460 votes
National Progress Party – 0.33% or 4,122 votes
We bloc – 2% or 25,174 votes
Rule of Law party – 0.99% or 12,390 votes
Sasna Tsrer party – 1.82% or 22,868 votes
Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) – 8.27% or 103,837 votes

Parties needed at least 5% of the vote, while blocs were required to secure at least 7% to enter the 101-seat National Assembly, according to Armenia’s Electoral Code.

 

https://www.panorama...ections/2045663



#332 Yervant1

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 10:11 AM

MediaMax, Armenia
Dec 10 2018
 
 
Urszula Gacek: Parliamentary elections in Armenia were unprecedented
 
 
Yerevan /Mediamax/. Head of OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission Urszula Gacek said today that Armenia’s snap parliamentary elections on December 9 were unprecedented.
 
“The fundamental human rights and freedoms were protected during the elections. No persecutions were registered towards voters or candidates,” Urszula Gacek said.
 
According to her, people demonstrated confidence in the election process.
  
“I can tell you that Armenia has never seen similar elections,” she emphasized.
 
Urszula Gacek noted that a number of shortcomings have also been registered, related to regulations in legislative field.
 
“We have already remarked that campaign financing processes should be equal and transparent. We are ready to help eliminate all the shortcomings that are still present,” Urszula Gacek said.
 


#333 MosJan

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Posted 22 December 2018 - 02:08 PM



#334 Yervant1

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Posted 23 December 2018 - 10:47 AM

News.am, Armenia
Dec 22 2018
 
 
Armenia’s Etchmiadzin residents block motorway to Yerevan (VIDEO)
12:28, 22.12.2018
                  
 
default.jpg
 

VAGHARSHAPAT. – Armenia’s Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin) city residents, who are staging a protest against the release of MP and Yerkrapah (Defender of the Land) Volunteer Union Board ex-Chairman, retired General Manvel Grigoryan—who is a resident of this city, have closed off the Vagharshapat-Yerevan motorway.

The Armenian News-NEWS.am correspondent reported that those assembled demand that Grigoryan be remanded in custody again.

There is a large number of police officers at the scene of the demonstration.

On late Friday evening, the capital city Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction set Manvel Grigoryan free on an AMD 25mn (approx. US$51,600) bail.

Grigoryan was arrested on June 19. He is charged with unlawfully keeping weapons and ammunition, and committing large-scale embezzlement. In particular, it is about the embezzlement of the aid that was sent during the days of the four-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh), in April 2016. 

Armenia’s retired General Manvel Grigoryan released from jail on bail (PHOTOS)

https://news.am/eng/news/487555.html



#335 Yervant1

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Posted 23 December 2018 - 10:48 AM

News.am, Armenia
Dec 22 2018
 
 
Armenia acting PM surprised by ruling on retired General Manvel Grigoryan’s release
14:48, 22.12.2018

 
 

Armenia’s Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan does not know on what grounds the court has released MP and Yerkrapah (Defender of the Land) Volunteer Union Board ex-Chairman, retired General Manvel Grigoryan, on bail.

Speaking with reporters in Vanadzor, Pashinyan said he understands the dissatisfaction of the people who are protesting against the court decision on releasing Grigoryan from custody.

“I don’t know on what grounds the court made that decision,” the acting PM said. “When that decision will be available, I will get familiarized [with it], but, again, I will not express a view.”

Pashinyan added that staging protests is people’s right.

Nikol Pashinyan noted, however, that the court decision was a surprise to him. In his words, nonetheless, this yet again shows that he does not interfere in the independence of the courts.

Armenia’s acting PM said the important thing is that the criminal investigation be completed soon and the trial begins—with all the consequences coming from it.

On late Friday evening, the capital city Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction released Manvel Grigoryan from custody on an AMD 25mn (approx. US$51,600) bail.

Grigoryan was arrested on June 19. He is charged with unlawfully keeping weapons and ammunition, and committing large-scale embezzlement. In particular, it is about the embezzlement of the aid that was sent during the days of the four-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh), in April 2016. 

Armenia’s retired General Manvel Grigoryan released from jail on bail (PHOTOS)

https://news.am/eng/news/487576.html



#336 Yervant1

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Posted 23 December 2018 - 11:01 AM

MediaMax, Armenia
Dec 22 2018
 
 
Serj Tankian is making a documentary about Armenian revolution
 
 
Yerevan /Mediamax/. Rockstar, System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian has announced he is going to make a documentary film about the Armenian revolution.

 

 

The film, I Am Not Alone, is expected to be ready for the festival circuit next year, Tankian said.

 He added he is proud that The Economist ranked Armenia as Country of the Year for 2018.

 Serj Tankian was an active supporter of the revolution in spring 2018.

 

 

1524980427_4567255.jpg
 

 

He said in the interview to New Europe in April:

 “Armenian youngsters have reinvented themselves culturally in such a way that they have become irrefutably powerful. They won’t stand for injustice the same way as their parents did but will react with understanding and love also different from the previous generation. I consider the Electric Yerevan protests the lead up to this as it was the youth that initiated the single issue protest.”

 In another demonstration of support, Tankian visited Armenia in May.

https://www.mediamax.../society/31693/



#337 Yervant1

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 09:53 AM

No turning back to the ugly corruption, every effort should be made to keep the oligarchic thieves at bay. 

Arminfo, Armenia

Dec 24 2018
 
 
Emmanuil Mkrtchyan Manvel Sargsyan: Oligarchic order was broken in Armenia, but the  threat of a return to authoritarianism remains.(video) 20171016025546%D0%91%D0%B5%D0%B7-%D0%B8%

ArmInfo.Through in Armenia, the oligarchic order that replaced  authoritarianism has been destroyed, but the threat of a return to  authoritarianism persists. Manvel Sargsyan, director of the Armenian  Center for Strategic and National Studies, said in an interview with  ArmInfo correspondent.

He noted that the social processes in the country should be viewed  precisely in the vein, that authoritarianism, which became a natural  way out of the situation when the country had to strengthen stability  in the 90s of the last century, was in fact taken hostage by the  criminal-oligarchic system based on an informal agreement on the  division of property and spheres of influence.

Meanwhile, according to the political scientist, the country is now  moving to the point where it becomes vitally necessary to consolidate  the gains of the velvet revolution by a number of institutional  decisions and a strategy aimed at the constructive construction of  inclusive state institutions. In the event of failure, Armenia is  threatened with a rollback to authoritarianism and, moreover, to  radicalization of life through the exit to the arena of radical  domestic political forces, some of which, in the person of the same  party Sasna Crer, have already begun to impose their demands on the  government. the  political scientist gave an example.  At the same time, according to  Sargsyan, the weakness of the state administration of Armenia can  contribute to a fallback to authoritarianism, when all issues - from  major to minor details - will be solved solely by one person.  Nonprofessionalism and lack of public administration skills of the  new government team, its lack of understanding of how the governance  system should be built, its weak institutionalization or even worse -  its complete absence - will become a serious challenge to the  processes of democratic governance, which is based on a balanced  distribution of powers and responsibilities.

"As the practice of these past months has shown, the young members of  the Pashinyan team have serious problems in terms of making  independent decisions. Because of the lack of professionalism and  management skills, these young people themselves delegate  authoritarianism to their leader, "the political scientist  emphasized, noting that he himself calls this management" illiteracy  "or worse" semi-literacy ", characterized by ambitious ambitions,  when some level of reading or knowledge of foreign languages replaces  a complete misunderstanding of what you do. "There is no knowledge  about state-building, about state institutions, mechanisms of their  functioning," the political scientist stated with regret.

Sargsyan added that today's reluctance of Pashinyan can be considered  a threat of creeping into authoritarianism, although earlier he had a  different point of view, to revise the Basic Law of the country,  concocted by the country's leadership for the reproduction of the  criminal-oligarchic power structure.  

"Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with those who are in  support of the second president, Robert Kocharyan, because this  stratum of rich people should also have its representative place in  the political life of the country. I advised them not to engage in  nonsense, glorifying Kocharyan's role, supposedly "it should not be  touched, because this is the end of the state", but to come forward  with a legislative initiative on decapitalization, which will allow  the court's decision to return the looted capital to the state and  receive recognition of the legitimacy of capital from the broad  public strata> said Sargsyan.

The roots and habits of velvet revolution

video at http://arminfo.info/...id=37967&lang=3

 

 



#338 Yervant1

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 09:56 AM

These ugly deeds will not hurt Pashinyan but garner more support! Idiots!!!!!!

Vestnik Kavkaza

Dec 24 2018
 
 
Pashinyan's statue beheaded in Armenia
24 Dec in 11:10
15456486045c20b9dcd527b0.91452786.png
 

Unidentified persons have damaged the statue of Armenia's acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, which was installed on the Vanadzor-Gyumri motorway in September.

The sculpture is called 'My Step,' and symbolizes Pashinyan's march carried out from Gyumri to Yerevan.

The photo posted on the internet shows that the head of this sculpture is missing. Earlier, the statue's leg had been damaged, News.am reported.

http://vestnikkavkaz...in-Armenia.html

 

 



#339 MosJan

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 12:38 PM

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#340 Yervant1

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Posted 31 December 2018 - 11:27 AM

Quartz
Dec 30 2018
 
 
How Armenia went from a corrupt autocracy to country of the year in six months
By Annalisa Merelli in Yerevan—Armenia

 

Walking around the Armenian capital of Yerevan in early June, the last thing a visitor could picture on those streets was a revolution. Spotless, clean, and cheerful, with families out for ice cream and strolls in the balmy late-spring night, the city appeared to be perfectly content.

And yet, only weeks before, the nation had been in turmoil. The streets were filled with protestors demanding the resignation of president Serzh Sargsyan and an end to the corrupt, autocratic government that had controlled the former Soviet republic since 2008.


The year 2018 was one in which authoritarianism made striking gains in countries like Hungary, Poland, and Brazil. But in May, Armenia managed to free itself from autocracy—without shedding a drop of blood. By December, the country had held was was arguably its first fair election in two decades.

Armenia’s so-called “velvet revolution” was a model of democratic engagement, prompting The Economist to name it the country of the year. The story of how Armenians brought about their victory offers lessons for citizens around the world seeking to get rid of corrupt leaders—and reminds us all that it’s possible to bring about political change.

Rehearsals for the revolution

Sargsyan had held the office of president since 2008, as well as the office of prime minister from 2007 to 2008, thanks to a series of crony deals and contested elections. May’s protests were first ignited when, in April 2018, Sargsyan privatized the official presidential residence with the intention of holding onto it regardless of the end of his mandate later that same month. Lawmakers then elected him prime minister, despite the fact that he had pledged in 2015 that he wouldn’t seek the role—further enflaming public fury and sending tens of thousands of protestors onto the streets of Yerevan and other Armenian cities.

But this was not the first time Sargsyan had encountered popular opposition. In fact, the prime-minister-turned-president-turned-prime-minister had been dealing with intermittent protests for years. The results of every election had been contested since 2008. In 2011, a protest led by street vendors against a ban on selling goods on Yerevan’s streets broadened to become a mass political demonstration against both national and local governments. The protests carried on, intermittently, for the entire year. But although they led to some concessions, such as a change in anti-assembly laws, they didn’t turn into tangible victories.

From 2012 on, the protests gained focus—and became a yearly occurrence, as Salpi Ghazarian, director of the University of Southern California’s Institute of Armenian Studies and co-founder of Civilitas Foundation, Armenia’s first large NGO, told Quartz.

In 2012, there was the Mashtots Park Movement, or Occupy Mashtots, a protest with the goal of stopping the government from turning Yerevan’s Mashtots Park into real-estate property. The movement, led by a group called The City Belongs to Us, managed to stop the project, bolstering spirits with a concrete victory. In 2013, the focus of the protests was a big hike in Yerevan’s transportation fares. In 2014, protestors turned out to oppose pension reform. In 2015, the movement, called Electric Yerevan, centered on the rising cost of electricity.

IMG_2854.jpg?quality=75&strip=all&w=1240

These victories were both emboldening and limiting, according to both Ghazarian and Ani Paitjan, one of the many young, polyglot reporters who work for Civilitas’s digital media organization, CivilNet. On one hand, citizens got to feel the thrill of accomplishing tangible results. On the other, these small victories signaled, every time, the end of the fight. And when the protests moved away from concrete issues and into the broadly political realm in 2016, with people demanding the government’s resignation, the turmoil wasn’t capable of obtaining similar, relatively quick results.

And so, even as an opposition leader—current prime minister Nikol Pashinyan—emerged in late 2017, many people were dubious about whether it was really possible to move beyond smaller political changes and get rid of the Sargsyan government. ”Everybody was skeptical,” one start-up founder housed by the incubator Impact Hub, who asked not to be identified in order to protect their family’s privacy, told Quartz. The attempts to bring about long-lasting political change had been so numerous that “it just didn’t seem like there were ways to get these politicians out.”

The lessons learned

But as it turned out, all those previous protests—despite their limitations and shortcomings—wound up informing the strategy that successfully toppled Sargsyan. Interviews with Ghazarian, as well as with CivilNet journalists and Impact Hub co-founder and CEO Sara Anjargolian, identified five steps that proved crucial to ousting the authoritarian regime.

  1. Make the protests inescapable. In previous years, the protests began in Yerevan and stayed essentially confined to small, central areas of the capital. This meant that while parts of the capital were occupied, most of the country could go on about its daily business without even taking notice. Pashinyan, by contrast, centered the initial protest in Gyumri, Armenia’s second-largest city. Even when the protests reached Yerevan, they were structured as long marches through different neighborhoods. Every day, the route the protestors took through the city was different. Coordinated walks were also happening in other parts of the country, ensuring that everyone could, at some point, see the protesters near their homes or offices.
  2. Go home. In previous years, protests had followed the “occupy” model, with people camping in public spaces until their demands were met. But living this way is necessarily unsustainable; when people started leaving the spaces they occupied, the protests died. This time, protest organizers asked everyone  to go home at the end of each day and reconvene in the morning, in another location, to start another march.
  3. Get the kids. When it comes to finding protestors who are both willing and able, one’s best bet is to head to a university campus. Students have two of the most precious tools for civil disobedience: Idealism and time to spare. Pashinyan got university students to join his movement very early on, ensuring that ranks would remain strong throughout the protest.
  4. Make some noise. When the protests risked dying down, the organizers asked drivers in cities to honk if they agreed with the protesters. This turned the streets into cacophony and chaos, but ensured that the protests were impossible to ignore, and that people had a way to join in that didn’t require quitting their daily activities.
  5. Eyes on the ball. From the very beginning, Pashinyan and his supporters had said they were going after one result, and one only: Getting Sargsyan out of office. No other result was acceptable, and though the government made several attempts at compromise, the protestors turned them all down. More marches, and more noise, followed until the mission was accomplished.
Allies of the people

On top of all this, the revolution was very friendly to the media. CivilNet, as well as other organizations such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, broadcast live from the protests. Pashinyan had a background as a journalist, and the media felt he was trustworthy.

Getting digital media on board was crucial because of an interesting feature of Armenia: Its impressive internet penetration. According to the country’s official statistics, 72.5% Armenians in the country have access to the web. The Freedom of the Net report, which places internet penetration at 62%, considers the country free when it comes to internet access. Mobile penetration, too, is very high, at 119%. All this makes it easy for the news to circulate even in rural areas. And because Armenia has a large diaspora population, online media was particularly key in spreading awareness of the protests.

In CivilNet’s newsroom, Ghazarian explains that Armenia is a country where grandmas casually use Skype, even in rural areas, to speak with their grandchildren and relatives in other countries. Because digital sites have a large diaspora audience following their English updates, they could count on a direct information channel out of Yerevan and into more rural areas of the country, as well as an indirect one: From CivilNet to the diaspora, and then back to people in Armenia through loved ones abroad.

Some outlets were strategic in spreading the demands of the protesters and sharing the size of the uprising. CivilNet, for example, greatly expanded its staff and services to provide nonstop coverage of the protest. But others tried to remain outside the velvet revolution, acting as watchdogs.

That was the case with EVN Report, led by former CivilNet staffer Maria Titizian. During the protests, Titizian told Quartz, her organization, too, provided constant updates through its social media. But unlike others, EVN Report remained cautious in its optimism about the movement’s potential, and remains so.

“Revolution is a pretty loaded word,” said Titizian. “We had an uprising, an anti-regime movement; it is not a revolution until the change is permanent.”

https://qz.com/13162...-in-six-months/

 





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