The day has come, which was awaited eagerly by the Armenian society. Today, on April 9, 2018, Armen Sarkissian took the oath and took office as the fourth President of Armenia. This happened at a special meeting of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia.
For the citizens of Armenia, as for most experts, it is obvious that the next prime minister, i.e. the actual head of the country, will be the outgoinng President Serzh Sargsyan. He already shows his superiority, for after becoming prime minister, he will not change his presidential residence at Bagramyan, 26. Here, incidentally, before the inauguration, he received the elected Armenian President Armen Sarkissian.
Sargsyan expressed hope that Sarkissian would be able to achieve success in his new position, moreover, that he was ‘doomed to success.’ And Armen Sarkissian in reply confirmed that Sargsyan would be the prime minister, saying that he expected to work together in the future.
Three political forces openly announced the struggle against Serzh Sargsyan’s premiership: ‘Front for the sake of the state of Armenia,’ youth initiative ‘Reject Serzh,’ as well as the party ‘Civil Contract’ included in the ‘Yelk’ bloc.
Oppositionists attribute their hopes to the fact that from April 9, when the new President Armen Sarkissian takes the oath of office, and until April 17, when the new government is formed, Serzh Sargsyan will not have formal authority over the executive power, in particular, the military and law-enforcement structures. And during these eight days with the help of mass protest actions it might be possible not to allow Sargsyan to take power again.
At the same time, all these political forces declare that they will seek their efforts exclusively by peaceful means. Leader of the ‘Civil Contract’ Nikol Pashinyan even put forward this as a precondition for cooperation with other political forces in this matter. However, not all political forces of Armenia are ready to give up violence. And allegedly because of doubts about the adherence of the ‘Front for the sake of the state of Armenia’ to the peaceful struggle, Nikol Pashinyan refused to cooperate with it.
The ‘Civil Contract’ itself came up with the initiative ‘My step.’ Starting from March 31, there is a walking tour of the cities in different regions of Armenia, which should end on April 13 at Freedom Square in Yerevan. Where, according to Nikol Pashinyan, a series of actions of civil disobedience, in particular, blocking of roads, encirclement of buildings, etc., will begin. Here he contradicts himself, because earlier it was said about the non-use of violence. ‘There will necessarily be a process of action. It will not be a rally and then all went home. Well, the probability of achieving the final result will depend on the presence of each person. That is, anyone who takes his step increases the probability of success,’ he stressed.
In turn, the front ‘For the sake of the state Armenia’ plans to hold rallies in the centre of Yerevan from 9 to 17 April. Representative of the front, leader of the Heritage Party Armen Martirosyan noted that although the opposition forces were united in the issue of preventing the further rule of Serzh Sargsyan, the agreement on joint actions is for the time being only between the initiatives ‘For the sake of the state of Armenia’ and ‘Reject Serzh.’
And the leader of the opposition Yerkir Zirani party, Zaruhi Postanjyan said that they welcome initiatives to hold street struggle, although they do not see the facets to unite with these forces. Therefore, during the rallies in Yerevan they will conduct their own protests in Gyumri, Vanadzor and Kapan.
But representatives of the Armenian National Congress report that they do not have plans for street struggle. And they believe that there are no more obstacles for Serzh Sargsyan’s premiership, and this is already a technical issue.
Of course, it is unlikely that the protests in Armenia will lead to a change in the political situation. The already announced tandem Sargsyan-Sarkissian satisfies economic groups in the country, and does not cause any special discontent outside Armenia as well. The Armenian authorities are not bothered by the fact that the Armenian population does not want to see Serzh Sargsyan in this tandem.
The change of the political model in Armenia did not change the nature of power. And, consequently, all the same threats remain for Armenia’s neighbours, and all the same sense of hopelessness for the population of the country.