If Raffi is going to be a proper president, he needs to establish his new cabinet. Impressively, this will involve generating lists of hundreds of possible names and letting the public choose. While the opposition laughs at the idea, Raffi is actually going back to the style of leading a popular movement rather than an individual protest. The point of this new government is to encourage public participation, develop young leaders, and destroy the fear people associate with the government.
His new government can’t stand alone; it needs popular support. Thus, a signature gathering campaign has begun, asking:
“I, a citizen of the Republic of Armenia, welcome the newly elected president Raffi Hovannisian’s struggle, for ratification of the Armenian people’s victory and our national revival. I am ready to fully support Raffi Hovannisian in his and our sacred struggle and participate in new Armenia’s inauguration scheduled for April 9.”
In a low-trust country like Armenia, this is a bold move. People fear the press police that record the faces of everyone at the crowds, now the people are being asked to give their names. But, the fear is not stopping people from signing the petition. The people are also being asked for donations for the Barev Democratic Development Fund, which will create websites and further the message of the movement.
The Pre-parliament group has also been busy hosting a discussion on Armenia’s foreign policy. Their public discussions are invaluable in not just developing yet another think tank but a space for public debate and engagement.
This type of grassroots public activity is exactly what Raffi needs to promote. In the battle of him versus the government, he can’t win. In the battle of the people versus the government, the people can’t lose.