Armenia and the New Constitution (Part 1)

On December 6, 2015, a controversial new Constitution was passed by an equally controversial referendum in the Republic of Armenia that prompted me to start this blog and the monologues. But before commenting on the Constitution and the referendum, first a very brief look at the 25 year political history of the Republic of Armenia, from its chaotic beginning in early nineties.

Republic of Armenia that was built on the ruins of the Soviet Union and started its journey by the administration of Levon Ter Petrosyan as President, Vasken Manoogyan as Prime Minster, and Papken Ararktsyan as the President of the Parliament. All three were academics with no previous administrative experiences. The credit must go to this three academics and thousands of their close colleagues and patriots, who successfully managed the relatively smooth transition from a chaotic fall of the Soviet Union to a state of democracy with a constitution that guarantees, at least on paper, the independence of Legislative Executive and specially the independent Judiciary branches.

A monumental task considering the fact that, this was done after the aftermath of the devastating earth quake of December 7. 1988, and during a war with Azerbaijan till the 1994 cease fire. THANK YOU to all patriots, and warriors, who were part of this great achievement.

From the second term of Ter Petrosyan “election” till the current administration all the successive elections were vote rigged and thus none had any true legitimacy. Levon Ter Petrosyan was forced to resign from office, in 1998 before his second term was over. He was succeeded by the former President of Artsagh, Robert Kocharyan.

With a President from Artsagh, and the popular defense minster Vazken Sarksyan as the Prime Minster, and the former leader of Soviet Armenia Garen Demirchyan as the President of the Parliament, it seemed that, all the segments of the society were well represented in the administration and a “dream team” was in place to lead the country, and give hope to the people that have seen so much hardship and stop the devastating out-migration that started after the Soviet Union was collapsed.

But on October 27 1999 before even the “dream team” could well established itself, a gang of Armenian cowards, invaded the Parliament and gunned down Vazken Sarksyan, Garen Demirchyan and 6 other prominent Parliamentarians, and as a consequence, Kocharyan became the undeserving “leader” of the country, and continued the plundering of the country’s wealth that had started when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Kocharyan’s presidency ended with another massacre on March 1 2008 by the killing of 10 innocent Armenian citizens by the army/police?, during a public protest against the rigged election of his successor, and current president, Serj Sarksyan.

(The trial of the murderers of the October 27 crimes were delayed for a long time and then tried in the court with a questionable procedures. Worst yet, the March 1 massacre did not even got a trial. The irony is that, both this crimes not only did not get independent public inquiries, but no documentaries, or books were written about them by investigative journalists or intellectuals from Armenia or Diaspora).

It seems that, President Serj Sarksyan’s administration continued to plunder the wealth of the nation as his predecessor, and as the leader of a well organized Republican Party, and its sophisticated electoral machine, and through his hand picked and appointed regional governors “Մարզպէտ”, and specially without any well organized opposition Party in sight to hold him accountable, it seems, he will remain the leader of the country for a while yet.

He might be able to do so either in an official position, or as the leader of the Republican Party. Unfortunately as is the case of the most, if not all, long serving political leaders, there is the possibility for him to become more authoritarian, and less effective administrator, and thus, further slow down the progress towards better living standards for the people of Armenia specially in the rural areas.

Zohrab Bebo Sarkissian 

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