ArmInfo.Director of the Armenian Institute of International Affairs and Security, Stepan Safaryan, in an interview with ArmInfo, comments on the recent domestic political events in Armenia. He predicts the possible consequences of the draft law “On Making Amendments to the Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly” adopted on October 2 for various political forces in the country. As well as possible internal political considerations on the eve of early elections to the National Assembly of the Republic.
Describe please yesterday's actions of RPA, PA and ARF parliamentarians . What was it like, trying to grab onto a straw, or was there a more fundamental motivation in their actions?
In my opinion, through the draft law “On Amendments to the Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly”, the above-mentioned three forces simply tried to block Nikol Pashinyan’s road in the direction of early elections. Considering that Pashinyan and his team intend to seek the realization of popular will in the form of early elections to the National Assembly through political pressure on deputies, including through the threat of paralyzing the work of the parliament, these same deputies adopted this bill. The goal is to achieve a situation in which the inability to elect a prime minister will be addressed not to parliament, but to the situation created around parliament. The situation in which the discussion of this issue will be postponed until the obstacle in the form of the rally and protesting people protesting around the NA building is removed.
Actually, all these forces were cornered after summing up the results of the elections to the Council of Elders of Yerevan. The balance of power after that was obviously quite a bit changed. It was the support of 81% of the people that allowed Nikol Pashinyan to speed up the process of organizing and the timing of extraordinary parliamentary elections with confidence. It should be especially emphasized that against the background of the meager percentages collected by the party of Gagik Tsarukyan and the ARFD remaining behind the Yerevan elections, the number of political forces immediately increased, seeking to take part in early elections and fight for the vacant seats in parliament. Thus, the parliamentarians still needed to do something, which was reflected in the secret adoption of the draft law “On Making Amendments to the Law on the National Assembly Rules of Procedure”.
Yes, but in this way, all these forces, quite possibly, have lost even the last, miserable chances of getting into the parliament of the future convocation. What is the logic?
I think the logic of events today is determined not by these forces, but by the Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Already today we see that as a result of the parliamentary agreement, the ministers from the PA and the ARF, under the whistles and the hooting of the people, were humiliated, were expelled from the government, and the parties themselves from the coalition. This really means that in the upcoming, early elections, which, one way or another, but will pass, these forces can take part in the conditions of the final loss of the rating, the public’s own rejection, the lack of the latest administrative resources. And it really puts their parliamentary perspective on, let's say, powerful risks. However, they still have a chance to save at least some face. And this chance was given to them publicly by none other than Nikol Pashinyan, stating that the “prosperous” and Dashnaks had announced that they were unwilling to nominate their own candidate for premiere even after his resignation. He also insured himself, and quite original, stating that he could understand them wrong. Thus, throwing their ministers out of the government into the street, he gives the PA and ARFD a chance to assist in the matter of dissolving parliament. The alternative is to finally take the path of counter-revolution, sharing this unwieldy mission with the remnants of the Republicans. I think that today there is simply no other alternative for these parties. And with his statements he forced them either to confirm his own consent to the refusal to nominate, or to refute his words. And they simply cannot evade such a statement.
Yes, but in fact, in both cases, their political perspectives look very sad. What is stopping them in this light, still go all-in and nominate their own candidate for premiership?
The absolute futility of such a scenario. If the PA and ARFD openly speak with the RPA against the people, the events that occurred near the walls of the parliament on October 2 will seem to them, to put it mildly, flowers. Choosing a premiere behind closed doors, without a live broadcast, the RPA, ARF and PA will cover themselves with much shame than today, although it is very difficult to imagine. The public wave reached the doors of the National Assembly and literally within half an hour Pashinyan gathered this wave. Given that there are tens of thousands of opponents of the previous government at the door of parliament, conditions of unprecedented pressure on deputies, it is very difficult for me to imagine how many of them would dare to come to the conference room. I personally do not want to talk about the consequences of such a vote for them. The essence of the current state of the same PA clearly and beautifully demonstrated the public transition of the deputy prime minister Mher Grigoryan appointed by this force to the side of the people. Therefore, the “prosperous” and their republican-Dashnaktsakan friends have already lost the entire party, not only this one, but also the next one. If they, of course, dare to start it
Opinions are heard from parliament that, in principle, they are not against early elections, they are against the deadlines. Don't you think that after yesterday’s political suicide, the RPA, PA and ARFD lost their chances of taking at least some seats in parliament, even if early elections are held in May?
I am more than convinced. Today, the PA and ARFD left two ways. Or, after their actual self-destruction because of their own inadequacy, to reiterate their support for the revolution, for which they, of course, have no shine: chairs in the government, regional administrations, etc. Or take the path of accelerated self-destruction, joining the remnants of the RPA. Pashinyan did not leave luxury to remain neutral. At the same time, to this day, the new government treated the representatives of the old government rather gently, for political reasons, often turning a blind eye to their past crimes. And Pashinyan may well not do it in the future, especially given the lack of a published list of corrupt officials. And court cases may well spread over the entire length of the former pyramid of power, from top to bottom. I am convinced that Pashinyan has all the legal grounds for such processes. Thus, the entire leadership of the Republican Party of Armenia, including its deputies, who are so eagerly fighting for the observance of the Constitution, can be under judicial investigation. It is the Republicans who are late in the National Assembly that owns the nth part of Armenia’s national wealth. And we all know how it got to them. In this sense, not only Republicans are hostages of their own crimes and misdemeanors, and Nikol Pashinyan can recall these crimes at any time. Fortunately or unfortunately for this, in his arsenal there are all the necessary means.
Yes, but Pashinyan himself is taking a risk. For example, agreeing to retire, relying on the word of all these, as you said, people who lost the sense of reality, ...
Risks exist always and everywhere. And, at first glance, Pashinyan really embarked on a path today that was excessively fraught with similar risks. By the way, in any scenario. In this light, it is very important that the Prime Minister leaves all these people a compromise solution not on the conditions that they are trying to bargain, but on the conditions that he still offers them. In my opinion, all the recent actions of Pashinyan are sufficiently verified and correct. What is worth only his willingness to resolve, initiated by “coalition partners” and the Republicans, a political crisis solely through political consensus. And this, having in the arsenal an unprecedented popular support for Armenia and a whole case with crimes committed by all those people who have lost their sense of reality, but not fear.