An interesting twist in Armenian pre-elections process
Posted by kronstadt on March 3, 2007
After the failure to come up with a list of candidates for the parliamentary elections, the Justice block (comprising of 9 opposition parties) has ceased to exist. “The Artarutyun [JUSTICE] alliance is announcing the termination of its activities,” said Grigor Harutiunian, secretary of the bloc’s parliamentary faction.
Whether this was the fault of Stepan Demirchian’s stubbornness over the recent months, or the broader set of factors to do with the lack of ideology or the hyper-inflated egos of the opposition leaders or, maybe even, death of political imagination and broad perspectives within the Armenian social science as well as the Armenian society at large, is not the question to ponder at this stage.
At the same time another force in Armenian politics, formerly known as Ayl@mtranq socio-political initiative, has re-branded itself as “Impichment” in just over a week after it marched across the streets of Yerevan sporting its funky “@” logo and calling itself “The Alternative”. Now, it seems, Ayl@ntranq has moderated it’s radicalism… probably as a means to participating in mainstream elections (while the turn-up has dramatically diminished). Are they expressing the desire to play along the given parliamentary rules of the game? This new Impeachment will serve as an umbrella for small parties which doubt president’s legitimacy to join efforts. When asked, they confirmed that they offer Ishkhanapokhutyun (a change of government), which in our view is hardly an Alternative.
The primary aim of the Impeachment is to impeach President Kocharian whose 10 year rule ends next year. To this end the Impeachment is prepared to attract political actors from very diverse range of political parties, which poses a concern about the ideological direction of this movement when it comes to other issues and policies, once, and IF, El Presidente is impeached. They have already attracted the Democratic party and Conservative party, which in itself is a bizarre hybridization in terms of ideology and direction.
“By Impeachment we also mean the impeachment of the Oligarkhs; By Impeachment we mean the impeachment of Armenia’s governing mentality; By impeachment we also mean the impeachment of all the others who are being prepared for the presidential seat”, said Nikol Pashinyan in his yet another passionate speech yesterday as 300 or so people gathered near Matenadaran to listen to him and other leaders of the Impeachment/Aylentranq. (brief video footage available here.) As one of our own sources in Yerevan reports the absolute majority of the gathered were pensioners and people over the age of 40. There was also a small group of young ones, who apparently looked like they didn’t belong there.
Nevertheless, in light of the collapse of the Justice block, Impeachment put forward a new spin on their rhetoric aiming to fill the vacuum which was created by the collapse of the Justice bloc and which has been widely discussed in the press. By its inability to unite and form a sizable force, the opposition has proved its unwillingness to oust the multilayered structures of power constructed by El Presidente over the years, which is why Impeachment aims to be an open source to attract their disappointed party members.
After registering (on March 1st) as “Impeachment”, they have confirmed that they will be submitting their list of Parliamentary candidates today (March 3rd), which is the CEC deadline.
The collapse of Justice Block could boost the growth and popularity of Impeachment, however their preparedness to be a hybrid umbrella for other already existing parties, as well as their reluctance to formulate what they mean by the structural alteration of governance still remain as a concern. As one of our own said “They say ‘Alternative’, but not what kind of alternative. The way things are, any move in any direction out of this quagmire would be an alternative”. The tone and style of their speech sounds radical, yet the inherently technocratic overtone of their content hardly approaches the variety of radicalism and uniqueness that the masses crave for and demand by their increasingly desperate modes of expression.
Their next meeting is scheduled for next Sunday, 11th at 17:00, again near Matenadaran.