Does Pashinyan Have Legitimacy to Govern?

Since the humiliating “44-day war” ended, demonstrations started in Armenia demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan. The demonstrations were initiated by the so-called Homeland Salvation Movement. The movement is a loosely formed association of 16! political parties of which only one, the Prosperous Armenia Party, (“owned” by oligarch Gagig Zarukyan) is represented in the current Parliament that were elected in a fair and free election two years ago. (Wikipedia lists 49 political parties in Armenia)

So far, and thankfully, there were only minor confrontations that did not lead to violence. But the verbiage that the leaders of the movement specially Vazken Manugyan are using could lead to violence. Verbiage like “traitor” “pzig pzig gnaink” (tear you apart) etc. is nothing short of an invitation to violence, and a threat to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s life.

Before getting carried on with emotions and encouraging “mob rule” let us not forget that the war was started by warmonger and uncompromising dictators of Turkey and Azerbaijan. Artsakh and Armenia could not defend Artsakh against a much bigger and better equipped and hateful army, (and jihadist mercenaries), that viscously executed what seems to be a well-planned military operation that Armenia and Artsakh could not match. Thus, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan showed courage and wisdom to sign the humiliating cease-fire agreement to SAVE LIVES and took full responsibility for it.

Was it possible to avoid the war? Since the war was planned and started by corrupt dictators Aliyev and Erdogan, I will say NO.

Was it possible to win the war? Based on the concluding results of the war, I will hazard a guess and say NO.

Was it possible to shorten the war and minimize the damage and the casualties at the expense of being labeled “coward”?, maybe?, but, considering the fact that Aliyev and Erdogan were decisively winning the war, my guess will be that they would not have agreed to anything that was more favorable for Artsakh and Armenia than the one we have now.

As I said earlier, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan took full responsibility for signing the humiliating ceasefire agreement, and the people, the electorate of Armenia, will judge him when he calls an election as soon as an electoral reform law is passed and there is a failsafe mechanism in place to hold an election whenever it is safe during the Covid 19 pandemic. An election that will be free, fair, and void of any falsifications. Needless to say, each political party will have its chance to contest and win the election and the trust of the people.

Why hold the election after the electoral law is passed?, because, that was part of what Pashinyan promised during the election campaign and he was given a strong mandate to do so. And yes, till the next elections are concluded, Prime Minister Pashinyan and the current government have the right and the legitimacy to govern the country.

Yes, we have suffered a terrible defeat and we, all of us, are responsible for it. Since 1994, we, all of us, never had an open, honest, and public discussion (preferably led by Armenian intellectuals) for a possible solution to the conflict, and now is not the time for finger-pointing. Now is the time to heal the deep wounds both physically and emotionally and avoid self-inflicting new ones.

While on the subject, a few words are also about the Armenian diaspora(s). There are some Armenian organizations in the diaspora(s) that are also demanding the resignation of prime minister Nikol Pashinyan. I firmly believe that diaspora Armenians who are not citizens of Armenia and do not pay taxes and send their youth to serve in the army etc. etc. have no “self-granted” rights, and they should not interfere in the internal political affairs of Armenia.

Moreover, diaspora Armenian organizations can not be part of political parties that are legally registered in Armenia. No, I am not “inventing the wheel” so to speak. This is the norm for any sovereign country, especially so, for the countries that have big diasporas in foreign countries.

Here are a few well-organized large communities in Canada that do not have anachronistic political bureaucracies like, “Buro”s, “Supreme Bodies”, “Central Executives”, “Gomidai”s, etc. within their diasporas that are directly part of the political parties in their ancestral homeland.

China does not have Communist Party structures in Canada directly associated with the Chinese Communist Party, Italy’s political parties do not have any branches (“Gomidai”s) or Central Executives in Canada, nor do Greece, Israel, Japan, Korea, etc.

Yes we, as individuals, have opinions and preferences and are free to express them according to our own discretion and we do so and so do others too. This is the norm as well.

Needless to say, all the above-mentioned communities, have many cultural, benevolent, humanitarian, business, and many other kinds of non-political associations and through them, they try to help their ancestral homeland without being under the control of any political party. It is against the law, and Armenia and Armenians are no different.

It is long overdue that we, the “noisy” and sometimes arrogant Armenian diaspora(s), realize that the Republic of Armenia is not another — diaspora community, and stop treating it like one with unnecessary and divisive politically motivated acts and deeds.

I wish everyone a Healthy, Peaceful, Hopeful, and Covid-free HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Zohrab Bebo Sarkissian

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