There’s been a lot going on in the election. EurasiaNet has a good analysis of things, so I took a different route. Below is a broad array of links to recent news pieces to help bring people up to speed at a glance.
Who supports whom
- The Free Democrats are undecided on who they will support and will wait until the candidates present their programs, a commendable decision.
- Socialists are supporting Raffi Hovannisian. Unfortunately, their rationale is based on his character rather than his platform.
- United Liberal National Party supports Sargsyan.
- President of the Union of Yezidi supports Sargsyan.
- Rule of Law Party will work with the Republicans.
- Aram Haroutyunyan, National Consensus Party Presidential Candidate, believes he’s “the only one with the moral right to criticize the government,” as he’s never served in it.
- Andrias Ghukasyan, Presidential Candidate and Director of Radio Hay, has called for the nuclear option: all opposition candidates “unanimously pull out of the election race.”
- Heritage responded to Ghukasyan’s suggestion calling it pointless and is against a joint opposition candidate.
- Ghukasyan also threatened to go on a hunger strike if the Republicans don’t nominate someone else besides Sargsyan.
- Kocharyan said he didn’t run for a number of reasons, including not wanting to start a “fight for power between two natives of Karabakh.” Full interview here. Money quote: “The political situation in the country is so uninteresting that the reason I agreed to this interview is just my promise to give one.”
What they claim they’ll do (note how empty this section is)
- Hrant Bagratyan, Freedom Party Presidential Candidate, presents his economic program.
- Vardan Sedrakyan, the “epics expert,” said that he would recognize the independence of Artsakh and Nakhijevan. He also said that he wants to annex Javakhk, which has pissed off all the Georgians who don’t know that he has no hope of winning.
The electoral process itself
- It looks promising that the media will treat each candidate fairly and impartially.
- Policy Forum Armenia has a new report aimed at helping election observers spot the subtle types of fraud that were perpetuated in previous elections.
- A special taskforce has been created in the Special Investigative Service to coordinate election observation.
- The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) is concerned over the lack of popular trust for the election. Color me shocked.
- Fourteen organizations have applied to observe the election. The deadline to apply is February 8.
- One political analyst says that the government will rig this election by giving votes to an opposition figure to make it appear that the elections were competitive to the West.
Criticism and blame
- The Democratic Party believes that half the people won’t vote, and that Armenia is not ready for elections “as one part does not believe in justice and the other part takes money.”
- A Republican Minister comments on the inevitability of big money to enter the election and a few steps to limit its negative impact.
- A well-written critique of the opposition “hiding in its den” instead of engaging in the election.
- A former ANC member wrote a scathing “Ground Zero” article on the failings of the ANC. One of the criticisms is the ANC “flirting” with Prosperous Armenia, which may have led to some of the in-fighting within the ANC. Unfortunately, I can’t find the publication on the internet. It’s possible that the rumors of ANC considering turning into a party instead of a bloc is connected.
Regardless of the buzz of activity I list above. Don’t forget that a lot of Hayastanci simply don’t care about the election. Armenia is permeated with an air of pessimistic fatalism that this predetermined election will not cure.