The Struggle Against The Monopoly In Power

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE MONOPOLY IN POWER

Vestnik Kavkaza, Russia
April 23 2013

23 April 2013 – 9:44am

Susanna Petrosyan, Yerevan, exclusively for “Vestnik Kavkaza”

The elections to Yerevan’s Council of Elders on May 5 promise a real
political struggle and intrigue, in contrast to the presidential
election which took place on February 18, where the outcome was known
in advance. The central question is the monopoly of power of the
ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA). The main objective of the
Republican Party has become the reproduction of its power, and the
task of opposing political forces is to eliminate this monopoly, which
hinders progress in all spheres of the life of the country.

The monolithic nature of the power, which is based solely on the power
of the president, offers its own philosophy founded on the mutual
relations of the ruling elite. This fact, in turn, is due to the lack
of an actual institution of elections in Armenia, which is replaced by
a well-functioning machine falsifying election results at all levels.

Officials of any rank elected as a result of such elections become
hostages of the system and do not have any independence in making
certain decisions, even at local government level. A power structure
formed on such principles is completely deprived of initiative and is
not accountable to the voters, which affects the efficiency of the
administration at all levels.

In the framework of the established system, officials simply do not
have a defined self. A striking product of this philosophy is the
incumbent mayor, a board member of the Republican Party, Taron
Margaryan. He solves many problems related to transport and other
communications, but in general, as one of the links in the power
chain, he remains only one of the buttons on a remote control in the
hands of President Serzh Sargsyan. It is impossible to evaluate the
level of work done by Margaryan or any other previous mayor, since
they have never led an independent policy because of the current
system.

The current system of election fraud in Armenia is aimed at ensuring
the monopoly of the ruling Republican Party, while the power system
established on these principles becomes an obstacle to any
developments in the field of democracy, human rights, economics,
economic freedom, etc.

The ruling party intends to retain the existing hierarchy on May 5,
since any deviation, given the dissatisfaction of the population,
could lead to serious consequences for the system of government. The
proportional list of the Republican Party alone, which the local media
has labelled as a list of “fathers and sons,” indicates that the
Republican Party is committed to preventing the destruction of its
monopoly on power. The proportional list of the Republican Party is
headed by the current mayor Margaryan and includes sons and in-laws of
such pillars of the regime as an RPA deputy elected by the majority
system, Ashot Aghababyan, nicknamed Burnash, a crime boss nicknamed
Mher Tokhmakhsky, etc.

The opposition forces, such as the Armenian National Congress (ANC),
“Prosperous Armenia” (PAP) and the ARFD, declare their intention to
cease the monopoly on power of the Republican Party and cooperate in
gaining control over the elections, just as they did in the
parliamentary elections on the 6th of May last year. Moreover, there
are calls for the formation of a single coalition after the elections
to the Council of Elders. There are ideological differences between
these parties, but they realize that will not be able to defeat the
current regime separately.

“We need to cease the political monopoly. This is not an efficient way
of government and progress can be achieved only through division of
responsibilities and a system of counter-balances. The presence of
more than half a million people in the country who are unhappy with
the regime indicates that people want change. Today, municipal
elections are our main means to eliminate political monopoly,”
ex-Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, who is first on the proportional
list, believes.

Formally, elections to the Council of the Elders are local, but given
the number of unresolved problems in the country, the extreme
dissatisfaction of the population and the existence of political
forces that reflect the mood of the overwhelming majority of citizens,
these elections have become almost equal to the parliamentary ones.

What is the balance of power on the eve of the election, and how
consistent is the objective of the opposition with its actual
potential?

Each opposition party has its representative in the electoral
commissions. In addition, three leading opposition forces will have
their representatives working at each polling station. “Prosperous
Armenia” plans to install video cameras at all polling stations. It
should be noted that the PAP has great financial, human and
considerable information resources.

The financial and human resources of the ANC in comparison with the
PAP are limited. This party has only one newspaper and one internet
site. However, representatives of the ANC have been very active in the
media.

The ARFD also has information resources, including “Yerkir Media”. But
the bulk of its electorate mainly lives in the provinces.

The opposition has lots of resources, although much less than the
authorities. After all, the latter have the administrative resources,
which are not accessible to the opposition. It is possible that the
government will even use criminal resources.

The main task of the opposition is not to let the ruling party gain
more than 40% of the votes. With a well-organized campaign and
coordinated cooperation in monitoring the elections, the opposition
forces even have the opportunity to advance their own candidate for
the mayor of the capital.

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