Although somewhat late, but this week was the beginning of the end for the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA). Nearly two dozen members of the Parliament left the party in recent days, after signing a letter that they will join Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s proposal to hold snap parliamentary elections in December. With these MPs breaking rank, the Republican Party of Armenia does not have enough votes, even with the ARF, to nominate their own candidate for Prime Minister.
After the victory of the people’s velvet revolution, and former regime’s loss of power, many thought that RPA members, one after the other, will rush to leave the party and join the winning side, as was the case during previous political transformations that took place in Armenia.
For many reasons this did not occur until recently. First, there was no other political force which was willing to accept the elements that were rejected by the vast majority of the public. Furthermore, the leadership of RPA, headed by the former president Serzh Sarkisian, was able to persuade its members that if they remain united, the revolutionary fever will soon subside and the political tide will be reversed, and once again they will return to power. Until recently, in the Republican Party there were many who believed in such possibility and turn of events. However, the developments of the past few weeks, specialty what happened on the evening of October 2nd, when heeding the call of Pashinian, tens of thousands of people gathered at the doorsteps of the National Assembly, was a clear message for everyone. Then, few days later, Gagik Tsarukyan, on whose Parliamentary bloc the RPA was counting to block the path for the snap elections, had a “redemption” and change of mind. After meeting with Pashinian, Tsaroukyan signed a memorandum agreeing not to support any other candidate for the job of the prime minister, so that the Parliament could be dissolved by law.
After these turn of events, it became clear that the doors for return to power were closing in on the RPA.
When Levon Ter-Petrosian was forced to resign during a “palace coup”, he completely disappeared from the political arena. After staying in the sidelines for more then a decade, the first president of Armenia returned only when large groups of politicians and the public have demanded that he run again in the 2008 presidential elections.
It’s time for Serzh Sarkisian and his party to follow the example of Ter-Petrosian and leave the field. Even if satisfaction with Nikol Pashinian’s rule comes to an end in the following months or years, the people of Armenia will never again consider the RPA as an alternative force. Not only there is a widespread dissatisfaction with the RPA, but outright hatred accumulated over the past twenty years of its administration. Hence, The RPA will need for a long time to clear its image in the eyes of the Armenian people, if it ever happens.
Meanwhile, The collapse of the RPA is for real.