Politics 12:56 23/06/2021 Armenia

The people in Armenia have spoken whether we like it or not

By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier

The snap parliamentary elections have been tumultuous. A lot has been written and said about the candidates in these elections as to who should lead Armenia in light of the recent devastating war, dismal condition of the people, and threats against the territorial integrity of Armenia and Artsakh.

Nikol Pashinyan came to power three years ago. The overwhelming majority of the Armenian people, both in Armenia and the Diaspora, fervently welcomed him, reacting to their dislike of the former leaders. However, Pashinyan did not justify the people’s enthusiastic support and their expectations. Many were disappointed with his inept performance both during and before the war.

Even then, the antagonism for the former leaders was so intense and the prospect of their returning to power was so feared that most voters either stayed out of the election or voted for Pashinyan. What was really surprising is not so much Pashinyan’s landslide victory, winning almost 54% of the votes cast, but the fact that the coalition led by former Pres. Robert Kocharian was able to receive as high as 21% of the votes.

Nevertheless, the people in Armenia have spoken. We should respect their choice whether we agree with them or not. Diaspora Armenians do not have a vote in Armenia’s elections. Not even the citizens of Armenia who live outside the country can vote unless they go back home on Election Day. So, this is a choice made by those who live on the ground in Armenia. They will rightly bear the immediate impact of their choices, good or bad. In my opinion, Pashinyan does not possess the ability to lead a country with so many problems. Rather than finding solutions, he has regrettably made matters worse by his own incompetence and that of his advisors and ministers.

Regrettably, a lot of violent, vile, hateful and insulting words were said during the campaign, particularly by Prime Minister Pashinyan. It was unbelievable that he would wave a hammer during the campaign speeches and threaten to use it on his opponents after the election. He repeatedly threatened to lay them on the asphalt and plaster them to the wall!

Those are words that no self-respecting leader should use in addressing his people, whether they support him or not. Pashinyan also told the people repeatedly that he will change his previously-described “velvet revolution” to a “steel revolution.” It is amazing to me that a man who came to power preaching tolerance and advocating democratic principles has turned into a tyrant who is threatening violence towards his own political opponents. Such hostile language is more appropriate to be used against Armenia’s foreign enemies.

I just hope that after suffering from the violence of our enemies, Armenians do not resort to commit violence on one another due to political disagreements. There should be a civilized discourse and polite expression of opinions.

The other strange phenomenon we encountered is the government’s announcement prior to the election that there were 2,578,678 eligible voters. This is a very strange figure given the fact that the country’s population is around 2.9 million. If one subtracts the 700,000 youngsters under the age of 18 who cannot vote, the number of the eligible voters should be much less than the announced figure. The only valid explanation is that hundreds of thousands of Armenians who permanently left the country many years ago are still registered as voters.

The inflated number of eligible voters is the reason that the election results wrongly show that a little less than 50% of them voted. It is high time that the government update its voting registers to eliminate the large number of people who have left the country for good. Since voters need to have a domestic address, those who have moved out of the country should no longer be eligible to vote. Furthermore, cleansing the voting registers would eliminate election fraud as locals would be unable to vote for those who have left the country, as it has happened in the past.

As expected, there were a lot of accusations of voter fraud resulting in the losing sides rejecting to accept the outcome of the election. We need to wait for the courts to make their determination before we jump to any conclusions.

Pashinyan’s opponents had urged him to leave office and not let his government oversee the elections, fearing an undue influence over the electoral process. However, Pashinyan refused to do so and remained as a caretaker Prime Minister. As a result, he committed two serious violations even before the first vote was cast. He started campaigning several weeks before the legally authorized start of the campaign and used the resources of the government during his campaign trips, which is also illegal.

A sharply divided nation before the election became even more split after the election. Rather than advancing democracy in the country, successive elections have caused more instability in the country distancing Armenia further from any semblance of a democratic country. There is so much hatred among Armenians that one does not have to worry about Armenia’s enemies.

Regrettably, Armenians have become their own worst enemy. It is incumbent on all Armenians, regardless of their political preferences, to lower the degree of hostility, especially in social media, and learn to express their disagreements without being rude and hostile. The onus is on the leader of the country to set an example of tolerance and urge everyone to be more civilized towards one another, instead of inflaming the passions and using threatening language. After all, we are all the sons and daughters of the same nation and we should put our collective interests and the survival of the nation ahead of any other issue.

Now that two parliamentary opposition groups are about to occupy one third of the seats in the Armenian Parliament, the discussions and disputes, no matter how sharp, should be transferred from the street to the halls of the legislature.

Finally, regardless of whom we supported in the elections, we should not lose sight of the fact that the people of Armenia and Artsakh are in a destitute situation, particularly after the recent war, and we should do whatever we can to support them. We should also try to help our leaders, even if we disagree with them. I hope, in return, Armenia’s leaders will welcome our extended hand and be willing to listen to the advice offered to them. We wish our people the best and pledge to do everything in our power to stand by them so they do not think they are abandoned to their tragic fate.



Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:

Newsfeed

11:00
Azerbaijan again violates ceasefire on Armenian border
The Defense Ministry of Armenia reported another ceasefire violation by Azerbaijan late on Wednesday. “Azerbaijan’s armed forces...
17:08
Health minister: Identification of 13 Armenian soldiers' bodies underway
The identification of the bodies of 13 servicemen returned to Armenia has already started, Minister of Health Anahit Avanesyan told reporters in...
17:00
2022 Venice Biennale sets all-time attendance record
After seven months jam-packed with showcases of more than 1,500 artworks by 218 artists from 58 countries, the 2022 edition of the Venice...
16:30
Snow, fog in the forecast
Precipitation is expected in most parts of Armenia on Wednesday, overnight Thursday and Saturday, with snow in sight for mountainous regions....
16:15
Kanye West to pay Kim Kardashian child support as divorce settled
Kanye West has been ordered to pay Kim Kardashian $200,000 (£167,000) per month in child support in a divorce settlement, BBC News...
16:08
Armenian opposition MP comments on resignation of his fellows
The political views of resigned opposition lawmakers have not changed, opposition Hayastan faction secretary Artsvik Minasyan claimed on...
15:30
Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin dies at 96
Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who led the country for a decade of rapid economic growth after the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989, died on...
15:15
Armenia opens criminal probe after soldier wounded by Azeri gunfire
The Investigative Committee of Armenia has launched a criminal investigation into the wounding of an Armenian soldier by Azerbaijani gunfire on...
14:35
Armenian athletes win 16 gold medals at Powerlifting World Cup, set records
The Armenian team has earned 16 gold medals at the XPC Powerlifting World Cup 2022 in Siedlce, Poland, the Ministry of Education, Science,...
14:10
Poland plans to charge Ukrainian refugees for housing
Poland plans to charge Ukrainian refugees for food and housing after 4 months of staying in state accommodation, the government said on Tuesday....
13:57
Armenian MP: Azerbaijan consistently spurring tensions on border
Azerbaijan is consistently spurring tensions on the border with Armenia and Artsakh, pushing for escalation of the situation, Armenian MP Tigran...
13:22
Korea's Sue Choi wins Miss Earth 2022
Mina Sue Choi of South Korea was crowned Miss Earth 2022 on Tuesday night at the Cove Manila, Okada Manila, Parañaque City, The...
13:06
Dutch ambassador visits Armenia's Jermuk
Ambassador of the Netherlands to Armenia Nico Schermers has visited the Armenian spa town of Jermuk to familiarize himself with the current...
12:48
U.S. 'keenly interested' in peace deal between Armenia, Azerbaijan, envoy says
The United States is “very keenly interested” in securing a peace deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ambassador Michael Carpenter,...
12:25
Artsakh reports fresh ceasefire violation by Azerbaijan
The Artsakh Defense Ministry has reported another ceasefire violation by Azerbaijan on Tuesday. “The Azerbaijani military violated the...
12:03
Wednesday's schedule for World Cup matches
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 continues with group stage action. Four games are scheduled for Wednesday, November 30. World Cup matches...
11:45
Armenian FM due in Poland
Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan will pay a working visit to Łódź, Poland on November 30-December 2 to participate in the 29th...
11:35
Azerbaijani troops fire at Armenian border positions, use mortars
The Defense Ministry of Armenia reported another ceasefire violation by Azerbaijan late on Tuesday. “Azerbaijan’s armed forces...
11:15
Snow hits southern Armenia
Some roads are closed and difficult to pass in Armenia as of Wednesday morning, the Ministry of Emergency Situations reports. In particular,...
11:03
BBC whitewashes Azerbaijan's crimes by airing film backed by BP and Aliyevs
By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier The openDemocracy.net website published a critical article about BBC’s...
17:00
Rain, wet snow in the forecast
Precipitation is expected in most parts of Armenia on Wednesday and in some regions overnight Thursday, with wet snow in sight for mountainous...
16:45
Jennifer Lopez reveals Ben Affleck's engagement ring engraving
Jennifer Lopez is opening up about the message her husband Ben Affleck had engraved on the green diamond sparkler he presenter her as an...
16:36
Armenian politician reacts to EU envoy's Istanbul Convention remark
Armenian politician Armen Ashotyan, deputy chair of the opposition Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), has reacted to the statement of Ambassador...
15:55
Opposition faction comments on Reviving Armenia's decision to quit parliament
The largest opposition Hayastan faction in the Armenian National Assembly says it has held an “open discussion” with the Reviving...
15:30
Holy Lance to be brought out on December 3
The Armenian Apostolic Church will celebrate the Feast of the Apostles St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew on December 3 this year. Back in...
15:13
Armenian school students win 7 medals at Belarusian Physics Olympiad
Armenian school students have earned seven medals, including one silver and six bronze, at the Open Belarusian Physics Olympiad hosted by Minsk...
14:40
Reviving Armenia party quits parliament
The Reviving Armenia party, which is part of the opposition Hayastan alliance, has announced its decision to leave the Armenian parliament....
14:15
Will Smith blames Oscars outburst on 'bottled rage'
Will Smith has said his "bottled" rage led him to slap comedian Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars in March, BBC News reports....
13:58
Water tariffs to rise in Armenia from January 1
The Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) has decided to increase water tariffs in Armenia starting from January 1. According to a...
13:32
Armenian opposition MP steps down
Hripsime Stambulyan has stepped down as an MP of the largest opposition Hayastan faction in the Armenian parliament. The lawmaker tendered...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}