The Phenomenon Of Armenian Touchiness

Lilit Poghosyan

"Hayoc Ashkharh" daily newspaper, Armenia
Aug 15 2007

In response to our questions director of "Sociometer" center Aharon
Adibekyan shares his observations regarding the possible developments
of the upcoming autumn rearrangements.

"The first impression is that the opposition has not yet recovered
from their crushing defeat in the parliamentary elections. The main
reason of their failure was wrong tactics, as a consequence of which
pro-opposition powers failed to properly arrange many organizational
issues and this can be decisive in terms of reaching an agreement
about the united candidate for the forthcoming presidential elections.

Unlike them the pro-governmental parties scored a persuasive
victory and they don’t have any intentions to take abrupt steps. The
success during the parliamentary elections is a guarantee for the
pro-governmental parties not to face serious problems during the
forthcoming presidential elections."

"Do you mean opposition didn’t take lessons from the parliamentary
elections and in this case also they will scatter their votes?"

"Unfortunately, over again I have to take the role of a professor and
dispose opposition leaders against me. Even if, as fate has willed
it, they have achieved something it doesn’t mean they have nothing to
learn and that they can teach others. If we have a retrospective look
at their political biography and professional background, we will see
that none of them has graduated from Oxford or Harvard Universities and
none of them has basic knowledge about state governmental issues. What
they have achieved is a consequence of practical skills, while to be
an influential political figure one needs theoretical knowledge.

In our reality there is a misunderstanding about notions such as –
pro-opposition activist, pro-opposition grouping, pro-opposition power
and pro-opposition electorate. One can be a pro-opposition figure,
not representing any pro-opposition grouping or pro-opposition
power. Moreover there are various pro-opposition groupings in our
reality that are far not considered pro-opposition powers, as they
lack active electorate and social bases, backers and supporters
neither in state governmental bodies nor in private business sphere.

Some people believe by functioning in pro-opposition domain they have
direct contact with pro-opposition electorate. While the parliamentary
elections displayed that we have around 40% non pro-governmental
electorate that is scattered among small social groups. They lack
uniting power that can consolidate this potential.

If opposition wants to use this resource, they should be able to find
the authoritative figure among them that can do that.

After all it is not a bride or a partner that they are looking
for. They should find a political leader that can become the symbol,
idea and consciousness of that 40% protestant electorate. But the
moment you hear the topic of their discussions it is easy to see that
they are too far from solving this issue."

"How would you evaluate the political demeanor of the parties
functioning in the pro-governmental domain?"

"The originality here is that Dashnaktsutyun has taken the role of
the joker. From the first sight it seems beneficial, in the sense that
anytime you can change your color and appear both in pro-governmental
and pro-opposition domain. This policy is especially beneficial in the
parliamentary elections. Because there are always people who are angry
with the government and disappointed of the opposition and they can
give their votes to the third power, in this case Dashnaktsutyun. They
are those voters that are never guided by the categories of black and
white. They want something that is neither this one nor that one. A
public need of the third power always exists. What they really need
is to make the domain and seriously work on that stratum.

At present we are not sure whether this party can undertake
the role of the third power and be an alternative for the acting
authorities. Especially because Dashnaktsutyun is the party that has
higher rating as compared to that of its individual figures and the
absence of a smart leader can have bad influence on the opportunities
of the ARF candidate during the forthcoming presidential elections.

In case of "Bargavach Hayastan" party, I should say that the rating
of the party leader Gagik Tsarukyan was 10 times higher during the
parliamentary elections than it is as a presidential candidate.

That is why should the party advance G. Tsarukyan’s candidacy; their
defeat will be predetermined.

Anyhow it is too early to make predictions. All this can be
considered preliminary observations, analytical commentaries. The
future investigation of the public opinion will display the scenario
of the upcoming developments.

We have already made certain inquiries, probably in September – October
we will recommence our studies to understand what kind of president
Armenia needs at this stage and what anticipations the electorate has
from the upcoming elections. Only in this case can we bring forward
concrete numbers and percentages about the leading candidate."

"Do you think the fact that Levon Ter-Petrosyan that is intending to
break his oath of silence and return to policy can bring freshness
to the marathon of the coming presidential elections?"

"I have already mentioned that Armenians are like touchy cats.

When they are angry or disappointed in someone they will never go
close to him. It is not accidental that from thousand divorced couples
only 1-2 re-unite, they usually become enemies. This phenomenon of
touchiness functions in Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s case as well.

The objective and subjective difficulties that we faced during the
transitional period are linked with his character. During the survey
when we speak about Levon Ter-Petrosyan people remember the hard
years. And this stereotype will always remain in the memory of the
overwhelming majority. Our studies display that Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s
rating wavers between 1-3% and it is a very low percentage to become
a real alternative for the acting authorities and win the elections.