For a week the opposition in Armenia have been conducting demonstrations and requesting President Robert Kacharyan to resign.
According to the opposition, the last Presidential elections in Armenia were accompanied with many violations of law, and therefore cannot be considered legitimate. Obviously, Armenian opposition was influenced by Georgian “revolution of roses” (allegedly organized by George Soros and caused President Eduard Shevarnadze to resign). The opposition in the two countries used similar grounds for calling the Head of state to resign: non-legitimacy of elections (Parliamentary elections in Georgia and presidential elections in Armenia).
Armenian opposition became proactive after the Constitution Court rejected the legal suit on recognizing the results of the Presidential elections not valid. When rejecting the suit, Armenian Constitution Court offered to conduct a referendum on the vote of confidence to the President, and make some amendments to Armenian Election Code. Later Chairman of the Constitution Court Garik Arutyunya said that the Court’s offer to conduct the referendum had become outdated.
Opposition deputies in the Parliament (bloc “Justice” and party “National Unity”) failed to add the issue of referendum on the Parliament session agenda. As the result, these two opposition fraction have been boycotting the Parliament sessions since February 3.
Armenian President Robert Kocheryan looks calm. “Change of the authority in Georgia inspired our opposition”, said the President in a TV interview on April 8. “Their logic is simple: Georgians succeeded in overthrowing their President, why don’t we try? But authorities in Armenia and in Georgia have different degrees of strength”. The statement demonstrates that Armenian President has no doubts about his ability to hold the power in the country.
Armenian President has the reasons to feel confident: the three parties of the ruling coalition are supporting him.
Robert Kocharyan has been the President since 1998, and demonstrated many times his ability to hold power under any conditions. He inherited this toughness from his experience of the leader of unrecognized Republic of Nagorny Karabakh in the beginning of 1990s.
He was able to hold power after the sensational murder of Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisyan and Parliament Speaker Karen Demirchyan (his son is currently one of the opposition leaders) in the fall of 1999. The opponents of Robert Kocharyan said that some “President’s people” are behind this assassination. Kocharyan win the conflict with the group of Army officers willing to play active role in the country politics.
Meanwhile, his former Georgian counterpart – President Eduard Shevarnadze – was even more experienced politician. However, in “Shevarnadze’s case” the so called “outside factor” – interference of the USA – played a big role. Can Washington interfere in the events in Armenia?
The USA has big and powerful Armenian community, and this community has much interest to the events in the motherland. Unlike the two other republics of the Caucasus region, Armenia is still less influenced by the USA. Armenian diaspora in the USA can be a convenient tool for Washington to influence Armenia.
On the other hand, Washington may have no reasons to interfere. For the period of his being in power, Robert Kocharyan gave no cause to be suspected in anti-American outlook (neither in anti-Russian). The USA could support some politician being more pro-Western, to reduce Russia’s influence on Armenia. However, opposition leaders Artashes Gegamyan and Stepan Demirchyan are pro-Russian. They are definitely interested in obtaining support from the West, but only in this momentary situation.
Speaking of the “outside factor”, here are the words Head of Armenian Sociological Association, Director of National Institute of Law Philosophy, “In the small countries like Armenia, the change of power is never caused solely by domestic factors, even if we speak of elections stipulated by law”. Therefore, it is time to think which countries could be interested in the opposition uprising in Armenia.