Last week, the President of the Republic of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian, invited the main players in the political arena – Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the leaders of the parliamentary factions, and the representatives of the “Homeland Salvation Movement,” to meet at the Presidential Palace, to try to find mutually agreeable solutions to the country’s ongoing internal political crisis.
The parliamentary opposition, “Bright Armenia” and the ruling “My Step” parliamentary faction, immediately accepted the invitation to the meeting. The radical opposition, however, put forth a list of preconditions, thwarting the President’s initiative, which could have been the beginning of constructive dialogue between the parties.
Among the conditions presented was the discussion of the resignation of the Prime Minister, the formation of an interim government, and early parliamentary elections. The opposition also demanded that the meetings be held at the National Assembly and broadcast live.
It was clear to everyone that the first three items would have been under discussion, one way or another, and there was no need to present them as a precondition. As for the demand for a live broadcast, it showed that the opposition lacked seriousness, so much so that they were willing to turn the discussions into a public circus, where arguments and mutual accusations would have dominated the meeting, producing no solutions.
The exclusive goal of the opposition is to seize power without having the main prerequisite to achieve it – which is the support of the people. This reality is becoming more and more apparent to everyone, except the leaders of the opposition, who do not want to learn from the lessons of the failed course of their five-month-long street protests, where the number of their supporters is dwindling by the day, and public opinion polls are showing a bleak picture towards them.
A poll recently published by the U.S.-based International Republican Institute, surveyed the approval ratings of the main players on the Armenian political spectrum. The poll showed that 33% of respondents indicated that they would vote for the ruling Civil Contract Party if the elections were held today, 3% answered that they would support Prosperous Armenia Party, and 2% favored former President Robert Kocharyan. The Republican Party and the Dashnaktsutyun received one percent each. With such indicators, it is not surprising that the opposition is avoiding early elections and attempting to take power before such a vote takes place, so that it can control the outcome of the next elections.
The consensus is building among other political parties and the public at large, toward the need for snap elections, in order to overcome the current crisis. The government is obligated to move forward with plans to hold the elections as soon as possible, regardless of what the radical opposition thinks, and it is up to them to decide whether or not to participate. Parties with one or two percent support should not be allowed to impose their will on the entire political sphere and the country. Since this op-ed appeared in Armenian, Prime Minister Pashinyan announced that early elections will be held on June 20th.
By rejecting the President’s invitation, the movement uniting the 17 opposition parties, once again, has shown that it is not at all concerned about the well-being of the country, its stability, or overcoming the consequences of the war. For its failed campaign to topple the current government, the radical opposition blames the army for not joining their movement at the cost of violating the Constitution. The opposition also blames the President of the Republic for not taking action in accordance with their wishes. They often criticize public which refused to follow them, realizing the opposition’s true motives and goals from day one. To find the real culprit of their failures, the opposition must first self-reflect on their actions.
During the last few months, the radical opposition with its actions, rhetoric, and slogans, drove large segments of the society away, and chose the path of self-destruction. By continuing in this same direction, it has condemned itself to remain a marginal force that has become a hostage to the myths of its own creation.