Protests in Armenia continue ahead of vote

May 7, 2018 Europe , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Reuters photo

 

By

Tom Arms

 

 

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan thought he would do a Vladimir Putin. He had served the maximum two terms allowed by the constitution. But he liked being in power. For one thing, it enabled him to dispense jobs to friends and families.

 

So, he rewrote the constitution so that power transferred from the president to a prime minister and instructed his Republican Party to vote to install him in office.

 

But he did not reckon on the pesky citizens of landlocked Armenia bordered by Turkey, Georgia, Iran and Azerbaijan. Led by opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan, they took to the streets of Yerevan and elsewhere in their tens of thousands to protest against the blatant political finagling.

 

Sargsyan was forced to back down. In fact, he apologised.

 

The crowds rejoiced in the expectation that the Armenian parliament would elect Pashinyan interim prime minister until elections could be held. No such luck. Parliament refused to back him by just eight votes.

 

The people took to the streets again and are likely to stay there until parliament votes for the premier’s job a second time on 8th May.

 

The elephant in this room is Russia. Armenia was a Soviet republic and Moscow retains strong links. It has an airbase in the country which has both an economic and military treaty with Russia. Sargsyan has good relations with President Putin. But for that matter, so does opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan. For the time being, Russia is maintaining a watchful arms length interest in Armenia. But if the political situation deteriorates dramatically there is a possibility of Russian tanks on the streets of Yerevan.

 

 

 

 

Tom Arms

I am a journalist, entrepreneur and historian with extensive experience in print, web and broadcast journalism. I started as a diplomatic correspondent, wrote several books (The Falklands Crisis, World Elections On File and the Encyclopedia of the Cold War), and then in 1987 started my own business (Future Events News Service, www.fensinformation.com) which over 25 years established itself as the world and UK media’s diary. Our strapline was: “We set the world’s news agenda.” I sold FENS in December 2012 but retained the exclusive broadcast rights to all of FENS data. To exploit these rights I set up LookAhead TV which produces unique programmes which “Broadcasts Tomorrow Today” so that viewers can “Plan to Participate.” LookAhead has appeared regularly on Vox Africa, Radio Tatras International, The Conversation and Voice of Africa Radio.

In addition to being a syndicated broadcaster and columnist on global affairs, Tom is also available for speaking engagements and can be contacted on TwitterLinkedin and emailtom.arms@lookaheadnews.com.

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