Editorial | 2018 Elections

Weekly readers are surely aware of Armenia’s upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for December 9. These elections promise to decisively alter the country’s political landscape, hopefully toward one that is more open, inclusive, just and transparent.

Clearly, we are living in momentous times.

But while an air of optimism possesses most of us, there are more than a few who harbor concerns as well. Some observers point to the spotty record of acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his interim government, which at times have spoken more than they’ve delivered during their seven-month reign. More broadly, there appears to be some slippage between Pashinyan-the-activist and Pashinyan-the-statesman; the former, who won our admiration with his daring and successful acts of resistance and mass mobilization, and the latter, whose governance has yet to display a consistent, farsighted path forward.

The ARF is among those harboring such caution, emphasizing especially foreign policy and national security concerns. It is not yet clear, for instance, whether and how Pashinyan will pursue the Karabagh issue in all its different forms. Nor is it clear how he will align Armenia internationally, especially in its geopolitical orientation. For despite some encouraging pronouncements, Pashinyan’s team has also left real questions on how it would defend the country’s borders and interests amid turbulent waters.

Let us be clear: There is no question of turning back. The old regime is gone and cannot be allowed to return.

Similarly, there are concerns regarding social and cultural outlook. For while the new regime’s calls for openness are laudable, once again there are questions – this time over whether its (neo)liberal leanings outweigh its adherence to nationalism as a core value.

As a party that has long sought justice as well as security for Armenians, the ARF cannot take such issues lightly. And largely for these reasons, the party has chosen to participate in the upcoming elections – not as part of any bloc or coalition – but on its own, standing on its core principles and asserting the need to question rather than blindly follow.

Let us be clear: There is no question of turning back. The old regime is gone and cannot be allowed to return. But as for what lies ahead, there is some uncertainty. In this light, a respectable showing by the ARF and other constructive opposition groups would help bolster Armenia’s newfound openness, as we seek to build a more robust democracy that admits to multiple voices and concerns. We commend the basis for such a campaign and trust that the electorate will do so as well.

Months ago, our people accomplished something transformative. Through genuine, nonviolent mass mobilization, they have opened up the country to the possibility of real change. In this new reality, these elections will hopefully become a watershed moment, charting an irreversible course toward democracy, justice and prosperity. In all of this, there is an important role for the ARF and other healthy critics in Armenia, as we turn the page and start anew, amidst a spirit of renewal, dialogue and constructive debate.

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Weekly Editorial Board

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4 Comments

  1. ” Amidst a spirit of renewal, dialogue and constructive debate”.
    Extremely critical elements that are absolutely necessary for a complete renewal.
    Alas, so far the election campaign has been disappointing.
    There is no meaningful discussion of policies that will improve the economy, create jobs and secure the nation, including Artsakh.
    A lot of accusations, counter accusations, allegations, personal attacks; nothing constructive. It has been a campaign of ” mud slinging”.
    We’ll see what December 9 will bring.
    In my humble opinion, until and unless we have unity for the common cause and purpose, we’ll be unable to make real impactful progress.

    Hope and pray the electorate cast their votes for people who really care .

    Vart Adjemian

  2. The “old regime” (as you title them) surely did lots of bad things in order for the people (at least, some of the people) joined the “revolution”! However, what Pashinyan-the-activist did and still does through his announced threats to the opposing people was/is against the law. This gentleman is afraid that some of his own followers will use against him the “sword” he carries now and which he names it “revolution”.
    Your summary of the Pashinyan-the-statesman summarizes the risks that Armenia and Armenians will face after the elections. If became reality, Armenia is doomed.

  3. What do you WANT – The Armenian People and have already started your criticism? It is easy to stay in the country of your choice as a Diaspora Armenian & criticize our country instead of joining our handful of brothers & sisters to elect & advance our Nation. Other countries leaders are no better than ours. Stop winging & start caring for the Motherland who needs all of us right now.

  4. Very Disappointing.
    Polls are closed and turnout of eligible voters is only 48.6%.
    This is less than 50% of voters. Very poor turnout for such an important and critical election.
    Why the apathy?
    Waiting for results !!!
    Vart Adjemian

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