Sunday, January 20, 2008

Week 14-20 January: 360˚ Negotiations

Hard work for mediators, with negotiations going on about stability and future.

Starting with Georgia, today Saakašvili swore, pledging, in his first speech as President, to represent all the country and not just his supporters. At the same time the opposition - not allowed to manifest in the centre of the city - gathered at the hippodrome, and still denied his legittimacy. What’s the next step? To maximize the present visibility and try to obtain anticipated parliamentary elections, making the new Government fall? Or to prepare for the scheduled one in may? Oppositions leaders met with Matthew Bryza, the USA Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affaires, with Ilia II, Head of Orthodox Church and so on … negotiations…
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, who attended for the Moscow government the oath, met with Saakašvili and with Ilia II. Markets of wine and water between the two countries have being announced to open again this year… negotiations on the way…

In Armenia, under the influence of Georgia’s events, the Speaker of the National Assembly Tigran Torossian made clear that “Presidential elections will not yield to parliamentary ones” (A1+, 16th Jan.).
BTW: it’s time for the broadcasting of political manifestos of the candidates, whose list was officially announced the 18th by the CEC: Arthur Baghdasaryan, Artašes Geghamyan, Tigran Karapetyan, Aram Harutyunyan, Vazgen Manukyan, Arman Melikyan, Serge Sargsyan, Levon Ter-Petrosyan. While the opposition is grouping around the last (negotiations…), a common point which can be spotted in the different programs is how to overcome political isolation and try to reach a solution for Karabakh.
Just in these days the Minsk group is touring the Caucasus, bouncing Baku-Yerevan-Baku.

The year 2008 is supposed to be the one of the ultimate settlement of the conflict, on fair and balanced basic principles. But, both basic principles and practical solutions are far from official proclamations and collective understanding in Baku… Araz Azimov, from the Ministry of Foreign Affair, stated that for the last three years he cannot match any significant change.
… so the space left empty by unjustified optimism should be filled with massive negotiations…


Onnik Krikorian said...

I'm not sure it's accurate to say that the opposition is rallying behind Ter-Petrossian. Indeed, the three main parties that are -- People's Party, Republic and Impeachement -- attracted only 4.6 percent of the vote combined in last May's parliamentary election. They failed to enter parliament. Probably it is more accurate to call them the "radical opposition."

The other "opposition," as represented by Heritage, Orinats Yerkir, National Unity, New Times etc attracted more than 20.3 percent. National Democratic Union boycotted that vote, but we can also probably add the ARF-D to the list who attracted 13.2 percent of the vote.

In my opinion, it is very debatable indeed whether the radical opposition can be considered to be the main force in Armenian politics. Instead, some believe that they represent the old opposition, that a new opposition is forming, and this election represents the former's last chance to remain in the political field.

Onnik Krikorian
Armenia Election Monitor 2008

Marilisa Lorusso said...

Thank you for your interesting remark! Indeed, I expressed myself in very general terms.
I do agree with your statement that Levon Ter-Petrosyan cannot be considered the candidate of the whole opposition. And,indeed, his candidature was not urged by opposition parties, that are running with their own candidates.

Those parties that didn't manage to have a candidate registered, like the Heritage,will in these days encharge the party board to nominate whom to support. It will be interesting to see who will be chosen and on which bases.

For sure it is pretty difficult to challenge a candidate "in pectore" like Sargisyan, and in doing so, expecially in case of a second turn, the opposition must find a "prestiogious", very well known all around the country candidate, able to collect the votes of the disappointed electors who think that in the last ten years they lost more than earnt. That's why I think Ter-Petrosyan may be taken into a consideration greater than his present political weight.

Surveys are puzzling, that's why I stress the aspect of a permanent negotiation going on, on his name but -for sure- not only.