Politics 12:13 18/07/2019 Armenia

Atlantic Council: For Armenia’s Pashinyan, Poroshenko’s presidency should serve as a cautionary tale

The Atlantic Council has published an article about Armenia’s ongoing political developments and drawing parallels with the Ukrainian situation in the period of Poroshenko’s presidency.

Recalling the Pashinyan’s recent call on his supporters to blockade the country’s courthouses to begin the “second phase” of the Velvet Revolution, the newspaper said these developments underscore Pashinyan’s efforts to legitimize himself and his ruling coalition’s post-revolution vision for Armenia. To do so, Pashinyan and his government will need to pursue the key reforms he promised while leading the mass protest movement that deposed the former government and elevated him to Armenia’s premiership in April 2018.

“Meaningfully tackling corruption is paramount among those reforms. The fate of Ukraine’s former president Petro Poroshenko, another post-revolutionary leader in a former Soviet state, should illustrate for Pashinyan the perils of failing to keep promises to combat judicial corruption. Poroshenko was soundly defeated by comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a political newcomer, in Ukraine’s runoff presidential election in April. To ensure his own political survival, Pashinyan needs to prove himself as a consistent and tireless driver of reform in Yerevan and beyond,” reads the article.

The author next point that like Ukrainians, Armenians have for decades suffered from the consequences of widespread and mostly unchecked corruption and Pashinyan capitalized on his predecessors’ inaction and the anguish generated by decades of corruption and economic stagnation to fuel his political ascendance in Yerevan last year. “Like Poroshenko, Pashinyan reached out to disaffected Armenians by promising a break with the status quo. His new Armenia would be free of oligarchic control over political and economic opportunities. Politics would be done as never before, with competitive, transparent democratic elections and robust citizen participation in political discourse.

Of course, Pashinyan is not Poroshenko. The former is a journalist turned revolutionary who spent time in prison after incurring the ire of the former regime; the latter is a career politician with a multibillion-dollar confectionary business who maintained connections to Ukraine’s most infamous oligarchs and the system they ran. But both rose to power by promising to overhaul the wildly corrupt political systems they inherited and to deliver a fairer and more transparent politics to their corruption-fatigued populations.

“As such, Poroshenko’s political defeat should serve as a cautionary tale for Pashinyan and his government. Armenians took to the streets in 2018 to dismantle the old system and usher in an era of political, economic, and societal transformation, as their Ukrainian counterparts did four years earlier. If Pashinyan proves his initial steps are part of a committed and long-term effort to finally destroy corruption’s hold on Armenia, he, his government, and the Armenian people will reap the rewards of a new and hopeful status quo. However, if the obstacles prove too great or the urgency for swift reform unconvincing, Pashinyan may face the same fate as Poroshenko when Armenians head to the polls in 2023,” concluded the paper.



Source Panorama.am
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