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Elections in Armenia: what a Syrian Armenian should know

Despite the Syrian crisis and the fact that the Syrian Armenians have to protect their homes, news from Armenia still cause a great interest and wide discussions within the Armenian expat in Syria.


We are closely monitoring the current situation in our historical homeland. Certainly, Parliamentary elections in Armenia are a great event for the Armenians all over the world.
The Central Electoral Commission (CEC) of the Republic of Armenia has registered five parties (Republic Party of Armenia (RPA), the Armenian Communist Party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF-Dashnaktsutyun), the Free Democrats Party, the Armenian Renaissance Party), and four Political blocs (Exit, Armenian National Congress – People’s Party of Armenia, Ohanyan-Raffi-Oskanyan (ORO), and Tsarukyan).
Amid the complicated political situation in the country, tensions in the Armenian society remain extremely high. We still recall the 2015 long-term protests. Armenians demand radical changes, and many voters start supporting the most populist slogans. Although, it is much more important for the country to discuss constructive and deeply thought-out political programs.
Recently, the ruling Republican Party has been under numerous accusations of lobbying its own political interests. It’s not surprising – the authorities make every effort to strengthen their positions. It is common for many countries, especially for the countries with developing democracy. Nevertheless, since our people are well aware of the true price of justice, any revealed evidence, not only negates the efforts of the politicians, but also inflicts double damage on them.
An Armenian politician Gagik Tsarukyan is very popular now. However, his political opponents criticize him for doing business in Russia and playing the hands of the Republican Party. But has he done a little for Armenia and Artsakh?
He actually proved how to attract investments, how to create jobs. Whether he goes to negotiations with the RPA – it depends on his voters!
The traditional opposition consists of the Armenian National Congress – People’s Party of Armenia and Exit, as well as of the Free Democrats Party. These political forces are actively advocating for a course toward rapprochement with the West. They are supported by our expats in the U.S. and Europe. Americans and Europeans are eager to reshuffle the political elite in Armenia at the official level.
A new political block Ohanyan-Raffi-Oskanyan (ORO) is a dark horse of the pre-election race. It is headed by the former Defense Minister of Armenia Seyran Ohanyan, as well as two former Foreign Ministers Raffi Hovannisian and Vartan Oskanyan.
For all the warring Armenians, Ohanyan is well-known as a military general, and as a hero of Artsakh, who bravely defended the interests of our country. His participation in the elections is an unpleasant surprise for the ruling elite.
Unlike many politicians, Seyran Ohanyan devoted his whole life to serving Armenia before the elections to the National Assembly. He started his career as a squadron commander, and then he became Armenian Defense Minister. He also took an active part in the defense battles in Artsakh. He often visited the front line, communicated with people living in the border areas. He knows about existing problems inside the society and government.
Ohanyan managed to form a promising alliance that united a number of political parties, as well as public organizations, including veteran unions, which consist of experienced commanders and soldiers.
I don’t know whether his popularity can be compared to the love and respect of the Syrian Armenians’ hero and a backer of foreign expats, Lieutenant General Aram Karamanoukian.  However, it is clear that Ohanyan is also respected by the ordinary people. So, it will be difficult for the current authorities to dismiss him.
Ohanyan is also expected to take a strong stand towards foreign policy. For example, Azerbaijan simply won’t be able to obtain any concessions from Seyran Ohanyan, who fought in Artsakh. He certainly will not be afraid of Baku’s saber rattling. A certain concern is expressed by the Turkish authorities, which consider Ohanyan an uncompromising fighter for the Armenian Genocide recognition. They know for sure that he is a politician who can bring many problems to Ankara. Georgia will also have something to think about, because our brothers and sisters in Samtskhe-Javakheti will be able to breathe a sigh of relief if the Armenian authorities turn from populist statements to real protection of the interests of the Armenians in the region.
Generally, the Armenian expat in Syria hopes the forthcoming elections will bring a more constructive position of politicians on the issue of compatriots.
Especially this is expected by the Armenians who are returning to their historical homeland, in particular from Syria. Commonly, people flee war, virtually without any means of subsistence. They need houses, jobs, and social security. So far, unfortunately, the current state bodies have paid more attention to loud statements than really working programs.
If we put aside all political preferences, it doesn’t matter who is to win. What matters is what this power is going to do for its homeland and people, not only in Armenia, but throughout the world.

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