Hovannisian Demands ‘Comprehensive Power Sharing’

YEREVAN—Barevolution leader Raffi Hovannisian on March 22 offered what he called “the authorities’ last chance” to join him in creating a new Armenia, by reading a document that calls for “comprehensive power sharing” with the authorities.

“The time for change has come,” Hovannisian told the tho

Hovannisian in Freedom Square last month. (Photo: The Armenian Weekly)
Hovannisian in Freedom Square last month. (Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

sands of people gathered in Freedom Square. “Either the authorities will change their attitude toward the people, or the people will rise to change their authorities once and for all. One way or the other, on April 9, we shall have our New Armenia.”

The document, which was dispatched to the president’s office and distributed by Hovannisian’s campaign headquarters, put forth two options: immediately hold new elections or agree on a comprehensive power-sharing deal between the authorities and “the people.”

Regarding the sharing of power, it continues:

1. The holding, by the end of the year, of snap parliamentary elections. The implementation, before then, of revisions in the Election Code—to eliminate the majoritarian electoral system and to realize a transition to a completely proportional system; to allow for the publication of lists of citizens who actually voted; to reinstate the political-party principle in the formation of the Central Election Commission and district election commissions; to secure the participation of citizens living abroad or to ensure the removal of their names from the voter lists.

2. The removal of at least five regional governors, to be replaced by candidates proposed by Raffi K. Hovannisian.

3. The removal of all city and village mayors who violated the law and their own authority in falsification of the outcome of the February 18 elections.

4. The prosecution of all election falsifiers, including governors, mayors, party organizers, and other officials.

5. The appointment of candidates proposed by Raffi K. Hovannisian to head the following ministries and government offices:

a. Prosecutor General

b. Tax and Customs

c. National Security

d. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

e. Education and Science

f. Oversight Chamber

g. Justice Council

h. Anti-Corruption Commission

This contract is indivisible and is subject to bilateral signature. Its provisions shall remain in force until the conclusion of the snap parliamentary elections.


  1. “4. The prosecution of all election falsifiers, including governors, mayors, party organizers, and other officials.”

    Start with Serg.

  2. Given that a considerable proportion of the Armenian population doesn’t reside in the country and could not participate in the past elections, it is very important “to allow for the publication of lists of citizens who actually voted; and to secure the participation of citizens living abroad or to ensure the removal of their names from the voter lists.”

  3. The time has come for change. Armenia has to stop complaining and take necessary steps to implement parliamentary and constitutional change to bring Armenia into the international arena. Armenia is privileged to have such a devoted, committed role model and leader. Time to put the excuses aside and work together to succeed. Raffi left the American dream to realize the Armenian dream. We stand in solidarity with Raffi Hovanissian and Serge Sarkissian for a Better Armenia.

  4. If DIASPORAN Armenians wish to dictate how Armenia should be run as a country, they should return and live in Armenia (like Raffi did) and to become citizens of that nation, and thus work to achieve democracy and the rule of law as they see it by becoming members of the parliament.
    I don’t as much agree for Diasporan Armenians (who have left Armenia, or for that matter never lived in Armenia) wanting to have their cake and eat it to. It just dosen’t cut it. Principally, we want Armenia to be FREE, DEMOCRATIC, and for the Constitution to act as the basis for the Rule & Law. We can’t dictate terms from outside of the country. What we should be doing is educating thgose in Armenia to understand how to become a voice to be heard through Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Protest, and various Freedoms as granted to them by the Armenian Constitution.

    • Eddie, you speak as if diasporan Armenians are merely outsiders. You forget that the hearts and minds of most Armenians who were forced into a diasporan existence are filled with hopes for healing for the homeland and for Armenians as a people. I agree that a good way to fulfill those dreams is to live in and work for Armenia, but don’t cast off those tragically dispossessed of their heritage through no choice of their own as unwanted busy-bodies. The success or failure of Armenia impacts all of us no matter where we live.

      Armenia’s borders are ever in flux, disputed to this day. This is our history. In some ways, we are a nation that transcends borders. We are the children of Noah, anchored on Ararat, but not limited by it. Diasporan Armenians may have no vote in the political life of RoA, but they certainly have a voice.

    • I agree but I doubt Armenia’s leadership and oligarchy want to see a massive influx of diasporan Armenians since, like Raffi, they’d begin demanding inconvenient things like rule of law, economic openness, human rights, etc.

    • Hagop,

      It means very little whether Armenia’s leadership wants Diasporan Armenians to move to Armenia or not. Every Armenian should be able to move to Armenia if they decide so. Armenia belongs to all Armenians not just Armenians in Armenia (like myself). And the leadership should get used to it. Leadership is there today will be gone tomorrow. I am very happy that some Armenians decide to move to Armenia and raise their children there.

  5. To Eddie Petrossian,
    You must understand that we have 3 categories of Diaspora Armenians./
    1.the very old one *after and some even in 1890’s Genocide,Who are tpotally integrated and citizens of France,USA, Argentina etc.These are permanet in their adopted countries.But nothing should hinder their heartilyu cooperating aiding fatherland8for your comprehenshion like the JEWS.They can be of much use.
    2.Plus above we have the 2nd wave,so to say Armenians who left their- Middle Eastern mainly-secondary adopted coutnreis begining at outset of civil war in beirut, then iran etc.,these have been nearly integrated in their 3rd adopted countries like above .hard to say if some of these may decide to repatriate!
    3.This category is the recetn one who LEFT FOR BREAD!!!!!These can be our candidates to REPATRIATE if we help. That is what I advocate.
    As to Diaspora having a lI Irav status with Homeland*full-fledged partner is JUST.Without Diaspora’s help, it is anybody’s guess what the situation would have been in armenia ,after Earthquale, after and during war in NK etc,
    So please take it easy and think twice…
    best rgds

  6. “The appointment of candidates proposed by Raffi K. Hovannisian to head the following ministries and government offices…”

    Is he selling these positions or planning to install his relatives, like his sons who never served in the army? World Bank zombies?

    Because, you know, where he comes from, namely “the Diaspora” organizations, this is how things are done.

    It would be interesting to watch for a few months how his proteges bring their clans to run departments at these ministries.

  7. Eddie, you are absolutely right.
    The diaspora should NOT be involved with how to run the country.
    It is important for Armenians in Armenia to understand the democracy within.
    Democratically Armenia is only YOUNG and it is best that measures are taken to rule by Law as Eddie put it.
    Nobody, absolutely NOBODY should rule or dictate terms from outside Armenia.
    Go ahead Armenia and always remember the democratic process. Never be afraid to express your thoughts.
    I hope all parties will see the wisdom of democracy and will strive for it’s existence within.

  8. Hey Eddie,
    Read Boyajian*above,you ought to read other’s posts too!!!
    I have posted one above,which so far is awiating moderation!!!!
    Fact is Myu view does cover yours as well as Boyajian’s.
    The Diaspora must be within Diaspora Ministry *not in Gov.t
    We need to co operate.Something our political parties DO NOT GRASP!!!!
    They ea go their way ..and worst of all they think we the non-politico? should do as they do(always in friction with ea other).Not so!!!
    We beg to be independent thinkers(like self) respect them poliotical parties but have our own way of thinking.
    Like I insist..thaat ARmenian Diaspora main areas should have their permanent delegatges rep.s in Armenia in the Diaspora Ministry!!!!!
    much can be on daily basis realized,since these 5(N.&
    S.Americas, EU, RF.and Middle East would firstly get to know ea other.For your kind info, these ARE DIFFERENT FROM EA OTHER AS WELL,LET ALONE FORM hOMELAND ONE. tHERE THEY CAN ACHIEVE PLENTY working together(each in constant contact with origin , that is countries from where they hail…
    I do trust some will appreciate the bemefits that can be derived from such on the spot cooperation.
    Bring in the Young from overseas to undergo some cadet military training as well,(aside from culture ,langiuage and history…O:K.?????

  9. Eddie
    You are confusing things badly. First of all the mainstream Diaspora Armenians are those who were forced out of their historical homeland by a horrendous event called Genocide, not those who emigrated from Armenia after breaking up of the former Soviet Union. But, for both groups, or most of them, Armenia is dear and voicing a view on the events in their homeland is the most natural thing that can happen.
    Secondly, the issue of human rights is a universal one which does not know country or nationality. Calling an expression of view on the events in a country, especially, by Diaspora Armenians on Armenia, as “dictating how to rule …” that country, is really absurd.

    It looks as if to prove your “patriotism” you have to bash Diaspora and “Diaspora organizations”. If I am wrong please correct me. I neither belong to any Diasporan organization nor approve all Hovanissian’s actions. But, I find it regrettable that you prefer to see things black and white, rather antagonizing than compromizing. I wonder if you or any of those compatriots who give lessons to Diaspora Armenians to “stay away” from politics of Armenia and to support the “duly elected president” only, would do the same had Hovanissian officially been announced as the winner.
    Bear in mind, even if we assume official figures correct, close to 40% of the indiginous population of Armenia, not Diasporans, voted overwhelmingly to a Diasporan and not to the quite big number of other native candidates. May be this was the work of your fancied “Diaspora organizations”. If it’s not fancied, please provide evidence. I am sure everyone would like to be informed.

    • Arshag,

      Thank you for inviting me to correct you. Like you, I neither belong to any Diasporan organization nor approve all Hovanissian’s actions. Do I approve some of his actions? Yes, I think he earned his niche in Armenian politics. Do I approve the “duly elected president” and his regime? No, I don’t like how the country is run. See, it’s not black and white at all.

      The difference between me and the “Barevolutionists” who scream here day and night is that I realize that I have no right nor expertise to dictate how to run that country. The rights and duties are packaged together. If you want to dictate how Armenians in Armenia should live you should be ready to suffer the consequences with them. In other words, move there, pay taxes, and be ready to defend the borders.

      People deserve the government they have. This is true for Armenia, Azerbaijan, United States and any other country. It is not about the percentage of votes, it’s about how people in each particular country balance their wants with the society’s needs. If there was a disbalance, people would be on the barricades.

      I was not born in Armenia, never lived there, and I don’t have any business or career stake there. It seems that many laud voices here have undisclosed conflicts of interest and that bothers me a bit, but hey, what’s new in politics?

      I am against their attempt to talk nonsense on my behalf. They privatized the term “Diaspora” and try to misrepresent my voice and voices of many others by claiming that “The Diaspora” has a unified position. I did not give them my permission to do so. If they want to express their position they should say “such and such Diaspora organization had a meeting and voted to support so and so” or speak for themselves.

      I “prove my patriotism” elsewhere by donating a set percentage of my income to Armenian causes, volunteering a certain portion of my free time for Armenian charities, making sure my kids learn to speak, write and pray in Armenian, etc. Postings on AW is not on my list;)

  10. Gentlemen,
    You are getting this all out of context – Eddie, is not saying anything that is not true. He is basically talking about Armenia and it’s inhabitants. The diaspora, is not within although we would all like to be involved. The fact is that we are not in the country and you and I and many others hear and percieve truths and untruths – the fact is we are not in the country irrespective.
    It is the people within the country that matters and they are the ones who will determine the outcome of where Armenia wants to go. Democracy is an important part of that lifestyle.
    Confusion is the order when several outsiders or should I say Diasporans get involved – you will never ever get two Armenians to agree – does not happen in Armenia BUT CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT HAPPENING IN THE DIASPORA?
    Come on give the country a break – let them decide – please do not create confusion as it is bad as it is. Go for it Armenia – democracy will prevail and the country will eventually be ruled democratically – give the country a chance.

  11. Gaytzag, read today’s Asbarez article about the award for Professor Hovannisian. I think you will find this excerpt from the article very interesting:

    “Moreover, Hovannisian knew the challenge could not be settled by one individual, however gifted, but by the creation of new institutions. Much of his activity reflects this point of view: his research publications, his desire to mentor a new generation of scholars, his concern for collegiality and the creation of a professional society…”

  12. The Diaspora should both dictate and educate. It has both the moral right and the need to do so. It should provide education and moral support to the people of Armenia who need and want such support, and it should also dictate (or push) the authorities to make changes.

    The Diaspora in the west has accumulated enormous knowledge in democratic state building, and the people of Armenia need that knowledge. The common people in Armenia who want change also want Diaspora’s moral help. We should give it to them. However, that may not be enough, because the people are being denied by the authorities the right to make change. Therefore, the Diaspora, using its power, should also push (or “dictate”) the authorities to make systematic changes.

    We Diasporans should know that we have the moral right to push for change in Armenia. Right now, all sorts of entities, including foreign powers and organizations, dictate their terms to Armenia, whether we want it or not. They can do that because the government does not have the support and legitimacy of its people, and so the government has to give in to foreign pressure. Unlike these foreign entities, the Diasporans at least have the best interests of Armenia in mind. So, of all entities dictating democratic changes on Armenia, the Diaspora has the greatest moral right to do so. And when Armenia becomes democratic, it will better be able to resist foreign pressure, because the government will have the support of its people.

    • The problem is that “The Diaspora” does not have a single position therefore it cannot dictate or educate. Most of the posters here belong to Diaspora, but our opinion could not differ more.

      Imagine yourself on the other end trying to comply with our orders. I would dictate and educate an absolute opposite of what you would try to educate and dictate.

      Whom should they listen? The one who screams louder? The one who uses resources and know how of a foreign country to overthrow a legitimately elected government?

      This is people’s lives we are talking about. One wrong step in that neighborhood and you are dead. Are you willing to take the risks that come with your teachings? Would you agree to undergo a surgery performed by someone whom you just taught how to operate on people using Wikipedia articles?

      What is “The Diaspora’s” track record, credibility? We can’t even define the term.

      Talk is cheap, we can broadcast unsolicited advice till the cows go home. If we want the change we should start with ourselves.

    • @ voskanapat. Can I first ask you a question? In your expert opinion, what “entity” founded the Armenian nation in the early 20th century?

    • @ Hagop D

      Not sure why I have to take the tragic Armenian history exam here, but I would say that the “entity” you are talking about has a chronic delusions of grandeur problem…

      Founding the Armenian nation in the early 20th century? Hello, this is straight from the Azeri Turk propaganda books. Armenian nation was founded millennia before that on the same Armenian plateau.

      So, what “entity” managed to be in bed with Young Turks and Marxists in the same early 20th century? What new bed partners the entity attracted in the early 21st century?

    • @voskanapat. Since you are very well aware of the “entity”, I am glad you answered your own question, when you asked: “What is “The Diaspora’s” track record, credibility?”

      I am not speaking in riddles or historical truths. I am speaking in legal terms. You asked a condescending question, and ended up answering it yourself. I am very well aware our nation is many thousands of years old. In 1918, however, we had not had a legally recognized and agreed upon state by other nations for many centuries.

      I don’t know what you mean by “diaspora”, since many such “diaspora” ended up making a significant part of Soviet Armenia. But I will tell you that a large portion of today’s diaspora outside of Armenia, politically speaking, is represented by an “entity” which made possible the creation and thus legal existence of Armenia today. Not Russia, and not the ancestors of today’s illustrious oligarchs. So in answering what diaspora’s “track record” is, I would say it is longer than any existing in Armenia today, combined.

      Yes that entity is not perfect, and at times made blunders. But like it or not, without that entity that you hate so much and which created a legal Armenia, there would be no legal basis for Armenia to exist on today. You can agree or disagree, but I stated my facts.

  13. Vahagn: We not only have a moral right, we have a moral responsibility. We who live in the Diaspora know that we are here only because one or two of our ancestors miraculously escaped the barbarians. Many of us would not be here without the sacrifice of our fedayees who volunteered their own lives in an effort to save our villagers from both Turk and Bolshevik.

    Armenia belongs to us no matter where we now live. It belongs to all the generations that come after us. The blood sacrifice of our fedayees gave it to us. We have not only a moral right, but a moral responsibility to ensure that only the legitimate voice of our people determines who governs them. If we remain silent while hundreds of thousands of our people leave the country our fedayees died for, we have failed in our moral responsibility.

    While we have had posts from those who tell us that the Diaspora has no right to voice an opinion, I have not read a single word telling us that we have no right to continue contributing financially to our country. If we are to not support democracy that will improve the economic lives of our people, thereby halting the exodus from our country, are we to also not support the orphans, the mothers living alone in mountain villages, the pre-natal clinics, the families without firewood, and the children who need shoes? Should we stop paving roads and funding schools and starting businesses?

    This is our country; it is our responsibility no matter where we now live to contribute to its well-being. Antranig said so. Dro and Mourad of Sepastia and Soghomon Tehlirian and Misak Seferian and Aram Manougian and Sebough and Mkho and all the others who were willing to die for us said so.

    • Well, Perouz, a woman’s eloquence is something that cannot be surpassed. Thank you for perfecting my points. I fully agree with you.

    • “While we have had posts from those who tell us that the Diaspora has no right to voice an opinion, I have not read a single word telling us that we have no right to continue contributing financially to our country”

      “This is our country; it is our responsibility no matter where we now live to contribute to its well-being”

      Excellent points here Perouz. Since the recent developments in Armenia, many people here are hurling comments at one another instead of discussing the matter constructively, which is why I want to keep my comments at a minimum about the present state of politics.

      Armenia is every Armenian’s country who wishes it to be, either when they choose to be there physically, or, for some of us forced into the diaspora, in their hearts (hopefully to one day lead to their physical presence). If you left it willingly… instead if lecturing the diaspora, you need to join it to help and improve Armenia in all ways possible.

  14. Robert
    As I see, you too are confusing things. Expressing a view on the events in a country does not mean “dictating how to run” or interfering in the affairs of that country.
    A Diasporan Armenian, if you consider him/her an outsider – which he/she legally is – does not have a legal right to vote in elections in Armenia. How can then he “dictate” or “interfere in the affairs of” Armenia? Please explain. And doesn’t it seem rediculous to tell Diaspora Armenians to shut up and say nothing about the events in hismeland which directly or indirectly may ffect histure as well?

  15. Correction
    … doesn’t it seem rediculous to tell Diaspora Armenians to shut up and say nothing about the events in their homeland which directly or indirectly may affect their future as well?

  16. First to Perouz,
    thanks, shall enter and read re Prfpo. Richard G. Hovhannisian(I ahve near all his books have met him 2/3 times ….so don´t worry about that….
    To Vahagn,
    please don´t use word dictate….THAT IS UGLY A word that does not suit us armenians.belongs to Arabs(comes to mind their Mubaral Gadafi Now this chap Asad..all dictators…
    We Armenians are Ungervaragan by nature,even the rich Ramgavaragans amongst Diaspora Armenians upto certian point quite Ungervar…
    We are not to be compared to those mentioned…
    So come down from clouds and be more friendly…with our brethren in RA.they suffereed 70 yrs of that Despotism…
    We need-sorry have to repeat our Delegates in permannet fashion in Yerevan at the Diaspora ministry…period.
    Any bad aspects outta that???speak up please…
    Hasgcoghin Barev

    • I dont like the word “dictate” either, Gaytzag. I used it in the sense that Eddie used it. I prefer the term demand. I think we have the moral right (and as Perouz put it, the responsibility) to demand change from the authorities of Armenia, not the common people, who need our encouregement, not our demands. While Armenia’s people can be considered our brothers and sisters, I have hard time calling the ruling oligarchs my brothers and sisters.

  17. Gaytzag; This is the first time I have seen reference to any interest in a professional organization by Hovannisian. It would be interesting to know more about it. Do you know if this has any parallels with the type of professional organization you propose? We are all indebted to this man. I am astonished by his monumental body of work. It is shameful that his 4 volume Empire of the Republic is now out of print. I made sure my university library had it when it first came out, but neglected to buy it for myself. I won’t make that mistake again. I am now trying to track it all down for myself. I have found vol 111 and 1V. It amazes me that a work of this substance has not been kept in print. He deserves to have won yet another award.

  18. Perouz,
    I bought one (2nd copy) of book entitled m a m i g o n, on one of those on the internet…cheap8 abit used) but good condition and 3/4$ shipping.
    Other than that <I´d like to inform here those who might be interested.
    I received last copy of TIME magazine yesterday,wherein great Turkey is now declared REGIONAL POWER, as it kissed and made up with Israel and also -accoridng to TIME- the kurdish iswsue has been peacefully resolved and ¨sealed¨las word by self.
    My opinion? here goes, with israel -from the beginning-it was apparent that it was a superficial crossfire, or call it what you may..their being tangled up re Mavi something ship that was stpormed by israel commandos a nd 9 turks killed…to which I don´t give damned!!!!let thme become bosom friends!!!!but,
    However immoral it may seem I hate to learn that Kurds have overcome the ills great Turkey inflicted upon them ,last half century…
    or is this a superficial one? they have the man ocalan in their prision and may easily drug him to say what they wish…
    Anyhow,it is upto the kurds to deicde theri destiny…..
    Again I don´t give a damned,since latter also caused us great harm!!!

  19. Vahagn,
    Please let´s be a bit diplomatic,
    While i would not call those Oli´s brothers, they are there and we must sort of shun them (try not to be aware of them) or so show it…
    AS to word demand.Again, we ought to use same metjhod as to just said for the Oli¨s…for I have had touch with those who supposedly try to cooperate with the diaspora, are also 70 yr old Pionergan trained…not so easily to be handled..we need to have tact.
    First get into the Ministry ,then by and by work our way into their fabric , try to SHOW THEM , that what we have learnt to believe in…. is the right way…
    othersie ,it would be very difficult to make things happen in RA…

  20. gaytzag; I am glad you were able to find another copy. I have one for myself and my university has one in their special collections archives, so I know the work will be preserved for a long time. It is worth someone buying no matter the condition of the book.it should really be reprinted before 2015.

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