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Presidential Elections 2008 In Armenia


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#781 Ashot

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 10:29 PM

COURT MADE A POLITICAL DECISION

[03:07 pm] 13 June, 2008

On June 13 the Court of General Jurisdiction of Shirak Marz found Ashot Zakarian, Petros Makeyan and Shota Saghatelian guilty under Article 2 of the RoA Criminal Court / “Interference in the fulfillment of the right to vote, in the activities of election commissions or in the duties of the persons participating in the election/.

The court sentenced Makeyan to 3 years’ and the other two to 2.6 years’ imprisonment.

The court decided to put Shota Saghatelian on probation for two years, and set him free from the courtroom in accordance with Article 70 of the Criminal Code.


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#782 Ashot

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 10:40 PM

NA IS PREPARING FOR CO-RAPPORTEURS’ ARRIVAL

[04:26 pm] 13 June, 2008

Georges Colombier (France) and John Prescott (United Kingdom), the co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the monitoring of Armenia’s obligations and commitments, will arrive in Armenia on June 16.

On June 16 the co-rapporteurs will meet with the special representative of the CoE Secretary General Bojana Urumova.

At the National Assembly the co-rapporteurs will meet with NA Speaker Tigran Torossian, the head of the Armenian delegation to the PACE Davit Harutiunian and the leader of the Zharangutiun faction Raffi Hovannissian.

On the same day they will meet with Armenia’s Serzh Sarkissian, FM Edward Nalbandian, Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepian, Huamn Rights Ombudsman Armen Harutiunian, the members of the working group which coordinates the implementation of PACE Resolution 1609, Levon Ter-Petrossian and the attorneys of the arrested opposition activists.

On June 17 George Colombier will meet with the representatives of the non-parliamentary forces, NGOs, the wives, mothers, sisters of those arrested for the events of March 1 and 2.

At the National Assembly they will have meetings with the representatives of the political coalition and the National Assembly working group for the Election Code amendments.

On the same day the co-rapporteur will meet with the secretary of the National Security Council Arthur Baghdasarian.

A joint meeting with the coordinator of the OSCE/ODIHR monitoring group tracing people arrested after the presidential elections Dmitry Narumov, the Department of Public Relations of the National Assembly reports.


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#783 Harut

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 12:16 PM



#784 Harut

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 10:57 AM

is anybody following this circus?





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Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:21 AM

so what's going on this time around?

#786 Yervant1

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:14 AM

FIRST RESULTS OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN ARMENIA

By David Petrosyan

February 25, 2013


The regular elections in Armenia took place on February 18 where the
incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan won a landslide victory, as it was
expected. (58.64% of the vote)

The Parliamentary opposition, in the face of the Armenian National
Congress (ANC), made a special statement after the elections. Recall
that the ANC did not put forward a candidate in this election, but
they did not boycott the elections because they did not withdraw their
representatives from the election commission. According to the
statement made on the basis of the information received from members
of the commissions on different levels, the major violations were the
following:

- The stamp in the passports was easily erased, thus providing the
possibility of multiple voting of the same person,

- The authorities used the data of the voters that were missing
from the country, but were registered in the lists (for about 700,000
voters) for the fraud,

- A bribery of votes was organized at the national level for the
candidate at power, which is Serzh Sargsyan,

- There were cases of violence, intimidation and bribery of
members in the commissions, journalists and observers, requiring
compliance with the law,

- Obvious stuffing the ballot boxes has been noticed,

- During the vote count there were fraud outcomes in some
committees. Naturally, the final results of the elections were
distorted.

As expected, the numerous international observers "did not notice" all
of the aforementioned violations and problems, and, as always,
preferred to speak about the "progress" and "step forward" in
comparison not only with the previous presidential elections, but also
with the parliamentary elections of last year. It is also evident that
the international structures are satisfied with this state of affairs
because of political and geopolitical reasons, and they do not want to
support systemic changes proposed by the parliamentary minority. These
measures are aimed at guarding against the double voting, and the
presence of 700 thousand voters in the electoral rolls that are
constantly absent from the country.

Despite our criticism of the work of the international observers, note
that the head of the observation mission OSCE/ODIHR Heidi Tagliavini
said that in terms of political competition this election was "a step
back" in comparison with the previous ones. In addition, Ms. Heidi
Tagliavini also noted the facts of bribery of voters and the presence
of non-sealed ballot boxes. This means that there is a possibility
that the final report of the observer mission will be stricter with
the reality of the electoral process in Armenia.

In view of the above, note that for the first time in the history of
the Armenian national elections one of the presidential candidates
(Andreas Ghukasyan) publicly asked for the rejection of the invitation
of observation missions of international organizations. This topic was
also voiced by the representatives of non-governmental youth
organizations of OSCE / ODIHR mission Heidi Tagliavini in a press
conference on February 19. The situation during the press conference
was so severe that the press conference was interrupted.

The question of the harsh criticism of international election
observers was raised by NGO "Center for Democracy - Bekum /Fracture."
The representative of "Bekum" Lena Nazaryan expressed her outrage that
the international observers do not get a full picture of irregularities
staying at the polls only for a few minutes, but always give a
positive assessment of the elections in Armenia. Meanwhile, the local
observers record multiple violations.

Also note that to our knowledge, this organization is not connected
with any public political power in Armenia.

It is also interesting that Andreas Ghukasyan - the candidate starving
throughout the electoral process with the slogan `Stop Fake Elections'
and demanding the removal of candidacy from S. Sargsyan, welcomed the
victory of Serzh Sargsyan and considered it absolutely honest five
years ago. He and his wife said it in an interview with "Voice of
Armenia" on February 21, 2008. Thus, according to the logic of Andreas
Ghukasyan the elections were fair and democratic five years ago while
the present elections are not.

This speaks about the fact that there are people in Armenia willing to
make publicity and, thus, get into politics not through the door but
through the window. We assume that there may be non-public political
forces behind A. Ghukasyan that will take steps to destabilize the
situation and form pseudo opposition.

The voters of Raffi Hovhannisian who came in second with 36.74% votes
have a very simple explanation: he received that part of the protest
votes who voted for the party of "Prosperous Armenia" Party, the ANC
and Dashnaktsutyun in the parliamentary elections.

As we know, none of these three political parties put forward a
candidate for the presidency and, at the same time, they did not
support any of the candidates, even at the level of statements.

After the announcement of the preliminary results of the elections,
the former Armenian Foreign Minister and his colleagues have made a
number of harsh public statements about a number of issues related to
the election campaign, the course of voting and the outcomes.

The statement made by Armen Martirosyan, the former Member of
Parliament from the "Heritage" fraction (2007-2012), about
R. Hovannisian being ready to lead the government is not quite a true
assessment of the results of the voting. He ascribes the received
votes on his personality and does not make allowance for the fact that
this was a protest vote. The statement about the fact that
R. Hovannisian is ready to take the post of head of the Government,
may be an indirect evidence that he and Serzh Sargsyan could have
indirect backstage negotiations.

However, the stated requirements by the ally of the former Foreign
Minister are too high (the parliamentary fraction "Heritage" is
composed of four members) and before starting any negotiations
R. Hovannisian has to congratulate Serzh Sargsyan, and admit his
defeat. However, this did not happen. Moreover, R. Hovannisian speaks
of his landslide victory. Despite the radical declarations about the
results of the election, we can not exclude that R. Hovannisian and
his party "Heritage" could enter the ruling coalition and receive
ministerial portfolios.

We emphasize the fact that the process goes against the fact that all
the main external "power centers", in contrast to previous years,
expressed satisfaction with the elections, and thus recognized the
legitimacy of S. Sargsyan.

R. Hovannisian will try to organize a series of large-scale public
protests. However, we think that he will not raise serious protest
wave, for these three reasons:

- The former Foreign Minister of Armenia has never been a serious
political fighter and has always been more inclined to compromise and
loyalty. He is also contradictory and inconsistent in key areas. In
support of this, we recall that five years ago, after a terrible
slaughter on March 1, 2008, in result of which 10 citizens of Armenia
were killed, R. Hovannisian accepted the invitation and participated
in the inauguration ceremony of S. Sargsyan,

- To raise and hold waves of protests, at least for 2-3 weeks, is
not an easy task and neither R. Hovannisian nor his associates have
this political experience

- He has no serious political allies.

As we see it, R. Hovannisian will try to establish himself as the main
opponent of President Serzh Sargsyan. But given the fact that
candidates from the PAP, the ANC and Dashnaktsutyun were not involved
in these elections, he must prove his right to lead the opposition in
the competition with these forces. The elections of May 5 of the
Council of Elders will provide such opportunity to R. Hovhannisyan,
though there is not much information available about the future
potential candidates.


"The Noyan Tapan Highlights" N5, February 2013


--
David Petrosyan is a political analyst in Yerevan, Armenia, and writes
a regular weekly column in Noyan Tapan. He is also a freelancer who
collaborates with Groong, and other publications.

#787 Yervant1

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 10:46 AM

Netgazeti,  Georgia
 9 Oct 17
 
 
Serzh Sargsyan's chess game: Is Serzh Sargsyan going to quit?
 
Mikayel Zolyan
 
[Groong note: the below is translated from Georgian]
 
For more than a year now, Armenia's demostic political life has been revolving around one issue: What will happen if in April 2018, when President Serzh Sargsyan's [second] term in office expires and Armenia turns into a parliamentary republic? "Evil tongues" assure that constitutional reforms in Armenia were mainly aimed to provide Serzh Sargsyan with an opportunity to run the country after his term in office expires [according to the former constitution, president's right to being elected for more than two terms was limited] [square brackets as published]. Sargsyan proper and his associates deny the accusations, of course. However, the closer the time of transition to the new system draws, the clearer it becomes that Sargsyan is not going to take a rest.
 
Post-Soviet countries can be divided into two groups: Those, whose leaders managed to prolong their governance for more than two terms and those, where practice of the kind failed to work. In most post-Soviet countries the issue was settled by removing the limitation on presidential terms. Political leaders in Azerbaijan, Belarus, and most Central Asian republics ensured their presidential longevity by precisely these means.
 
In Russia, the issue was settled in a more flexible manner: [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and [Prime Minister Dmitry] Medvedev used "castling" [In chess: When king and root are moved in the same move] [square brackets as published]. However, this scenario is no good for Armenia. The former [scenario] quite openly contradicts democratic principles: Armenia is trying to develop relations with the West, despite the fact that it is a member of the [Russian-led] Eurasian Economic Union. A move of the kind could have caused serious problems. Therefore, they decided on a different scenario, which resembled the end of [former Georgian President Mikheil] Saakashvili's governance: Transition to a different form of governance with the ruling party staying in power at the same time. The difference is that in Georgia, the scheme did not work. As a result of the 2012 [parliamentary] elections, the then opposition Georgian Dream party eventually proved to be in power. However, so far, developments in Armenia have been unfolding according to the plan: In April 2016, the ruling Republican Party won the parliamentary election. Indeed, the victory was accompanied by accusations of bribing voters and using the administrative resource. However, no mass protest was staged against the election.
 
Master of complicated political combinations
 
Years ago, when Serzh Sargsyan was defence minister, he was elected chairman of the Chess Federation. I have no accurate information on Sargsyan's capabilities in this sport. However, Sargsyan is a recognised master of putting through complicated domestic political combinations. This time, too, Sargsyan does not seem to be experiencing difficulties in the chess game, which is aimed at [his] staying in power. In this political multimove [game], the December 2015 referendum on changes to the Armenian constitution was the first step. The former constitution did not allow Sargsyan, whose second term in office expires in April 2018, to stand in the presidential election. However, he could become prime minister.
 
Sargsyan proper chooses not to give an unambiguous answer to the question about where he sees himself after 2018. Shortly before the election, Sargsyan said that if his political party won, "he would play his role in ensuring security of his people". However, he chose not to specify in which capacity. In his last interview [on 16 July] [square brackets as published], he also chose not to directly answer the question about whether he wanted to become prime minister in 2018 or not.
 
The advantage of the combination, which Sargsyan put through, is that the new constitution offers big opportunities to him and his team. His becoming prime minister is the most predictable scenario, but not the only one. Sargsyan can de facto retain power without becoming prime minister. He can remain chairman of the ruling Republican Party and as the party has a majority in parliament, all important decisions will be taken under Sargsyan's leadership. We should not rule out other combinations, which will allow Sargsyan to become the most influential figure in power, avoiding accusations of violating democratic principles.
 
What can hamper Sargsyan?
 
There is quite some time left before the April 2018 election and there are at least two scenarios to prevent Sargsyan from preserving power after the 2018 election. According to one scenario, there will be a strong protest against the system within one part of the ruling elite. It should not be ruled out that one part of the ruling team will take a stand against Sargsyan's staying in power. There is even a suitable candidate for a revolt of the kind: Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, who has been holding the post since September 2016. Karapetyan, who is former mayor of Yerevan and who had worked in the Russian Gazprom system lately, is considered as an "efficient manager". At the same time, he does not have a compromising record of connections with local oligarchs. Indeed, he does have connections with Russian businesses, including rich Armenians living in Russia. However, in Armenia, this is considered as an advantage, as this is related to investment opportunities. Narratives about Karapetyan being a "person from Russia" are highly exaggerated.
 
It was precisely Karapetyan - a relatively young, energetic, and always elegantly dressed politician that became the face of the ruling Republican Party in the election campaign. Consequently, the Republicans should first and foremost be grateful to him for their victory.
 
Up to now, Karaptyan has been well-disposed to Sargsyan. However, the situation might change. At the end of June, Karapetyan said in his interview that he was ready to retain the post of prime minister. However, according to Armenian legislation, before being appointed to the post, Armenian prime ministers should have lived in Armenia over the period of past five years. However, Karapetyan lived in Russia. But given the peculiarities of the jurisdiction of post-Soviet Armenia, the problem can be easily resolved. For example, he might turn out to have worked for Russian Gazprom from his home in Yerevan. Thus, Karapetyan's figure should be taken into consideration when speaking about the issue. Certainly, it is also possible that in April 2018, Karapetyan will remain prime minister and Sargsyan will retain the governance mechanisms. If something of the kind happens, this will anyway be a temporary thing: Karapetyan is unlikely to feel satisfied with the role of "the Queen of England "under almighty Sargsyan.
 
Yet another potential problem, which Sargsyan might face, is strong protest against the system. Indeed, at present, the opposition is weak, representing no danger for Sargsyan. However, street protests against the authorities do occasionally take place in Armenia. The same happened in June 2015, when prices of electricity went up. In July, the authorities proved to be facing a more serious problem. Armed rebels seized a patrol police building for two weeks. Armed group members were veterans of the war in [Azerbaijan's breakaway Nagornyy] Karabakh. They called themselves "Sasna Tsrer", i.e, "Daredevils of Sassoun" [the name of an Armenian epic poem. In Georgian reality, the Man in the Panther's Skin plays a similar role] [square brackets as published] Their protest received mixed reaction: Many people, including those in the opposition, condemned their act of violence. However, Sasna Tsrer also had many supporters.
 
In support of Sasna Tsrer, hundreds of people came onto the streets to be followed by thousands. It is hard to imagine, what turn the developments would take had they not chosen to surrender to the authorities. At present, the situation is under the authorities' full control and court proceedings against the group members are under way. However, Sasna Tsrer showed that the internal political situation can "explode" any moment in Armenia.
 
A lot depends on foreign players. In the West and in Russia, attitude towards Sargsyan is quite cautious. People in Moscow have not forgotten Armenia's active participation in the [EU] Eastern Partnership [initiative]. In Brussels, they still remember Armenia's unexpected shift towards the Eurasian Economic Union, renouncing an EU association agreement. Despite the aforementioned, Sargsyan has managed to present himself to Moscow and the West as a convenient partner, giving no reason to any of the sides to show support for his opponents.
 
Thus, unless there is some force majeure, Sargsyan's chess game will end in the way he wishes. And also, we should not forget that politics is often compared to chess. Real politics is more like backgammon, in which things depend on luck, rather than mastery.





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