Levon Zurabyan the head of the Armenian National Congress (ANC) Parliamentary faction is again appealing for the opposition to unite and form a “common platform” for the amendments to the electoral code that has to be approved by the Parliament by June. He is quoted to have said, “First of all a general mood against the falsification has been formed within the society, in addition to it, it is the first time that the international community seems to be to support us”.
He said something similar prior to the Constitutional Referendum on December 6 2015 at a gathering of the most, if not all, of the opposition political parties that I watched on video. He then used the term “golden opportunity given to us” to unite and defeat the referendum with a NO vote. He was one of the few that articulated his viewpoint rather well and he was right. Indeed it was a golden opportunity for the opposition, but rather than working hard to defeat the vote, they bickered between themselves and all of them failed and failed miserably. We all know what happened and I have written about the referendum vote in one of my previous blogs and no need to repeat myself.
Mr. Zurabyan who has been in the leadership of the ANC since its formation many years ago does not seem to have learned his lesson and realizes that Political Parties (PARTIES) either, get organized, work hard, and succeed in winning elections on their own, or merge with other PARTIES to form a new and bigger PARTY and thus have better chance to get better organized and try to win elections and form the governments. All talk of political unity or coalition usually gets tangled in “my way or highway” arguments and hardly achieves any consensus. Need I say again that if it did not work for the Constitution Referendum that was just YES or NO vote, it will not work this time around either.
Just for a reminder let me say that Levon Ter Petrosyan who is the current leader of the ANC and the former founding President of the Republic of Armenia did form a coalition of political parties with the same name as the ANC that included about eighteen (18) political parties in 2008 that lasted about fife years without achieving any significant electoral successes and disintegrated to form the current ANC. This time around they smartened up and formed a registered PARTY and not a movement or congress.
Mr. Zurabian also said that ANC is challenging the results of the Referendum Vote in court, with many well-documented falsified cases. While ANC as an opposition party is perusing the court case, at the same time it could also publicize all these falsified cases through all news media forums, including the internet and social media, to discredit the authorities and gain not only public support, but also to defiantly disobey some of the clauses of the falsified Constitution, and urge the public to do so as well. A Constitution “approved” with a rigged vote, makes it an illegal document, and thus, disobeying it, becomes a legal act.
If ANC really wants to make the electoral system free and fair, they have to keep the falsification of the Constitution alive and try to make it the “talk of the town” on every occasion at least till the next parliamentary election if not beyond, and not accept it as a “done deal”. ANC must propagate that idea at every occasion while continuing to enlarge its electoral base in every region of the country and waste no precious time on many times tried, and failed, coalitions.
ANC, which claims to be a social-democratic PARTY, (claimed to be modeled on the ideals of the United State’s Democratic Party) must go beyond the pretensions, and develop an electoral platform based on the socio/economic needs of the PEOPLE of the country as a whole, including those of the much-neglected people of rural areas, the “breadbasket” of the country, and work hard to convince the voters and earn their vote through a well organized electoral machine not only to win the next parliamentary election but also to proof verify any falsifications during the election.
(With the new proposed 100% proportional electoral system based on one central list of candidates for the whole country appointed by nonelected PARTY apparatchiks (backroom boys) in Yerevan, will institutionalize the political power to be centered in Yerevan, at the expense of the rural areas, and thus probably turn Yerevan from being the most praised and glorified city of the world after it became the capital of Armenia in 1918, to the most powerful and glorified “Republic of Yerevan”!. Does it sound like it is already so?).
Mr. Zurabian talking also about free and fair elections, corruption, and monopolized economy, was also quoted as saying “This problem will not be solved no matter how many times the Republicans and Dashnaktsutun (the Armenian Revolutionary Federation party) marry or divorce, coalitions”. He is absolutely right. But unfortunately, the same could be said about Mr. Zurabian and his ANC party (and all the opposition parties) who rather than working hard, very hard, to enlarge their electoral base in every region of the country and win the support of the PEOPLE, seem to be going through the same process by getting “engaged” and then “disengaged” and again “re-engaged”. It is hard to decide to congratulate, feel sorry, or pity.
Zohrab Bebo Sarkissian