‘Our parties are not institutional structures which is a serious issue’, says political scientist
YEREVAN, DECEMBER 11, ARMENPRESS. The political forces with many years of experience, which were not elected to the Parliament based on the results of the recent snap elections, need re-branding, new faces and new position, political scientist Alexander Iskandaryan, Director of the Caucasus Institute, said in an interview to ARMENPRESS.
-Mr. Iskandaryan, what is your opinion on the election campaign carried out by the political forces?
-Before the elections I was saying that overall the results are predictable. These elections were similar to the previous one by the fact that it was obvious which political force was going to win. Most of the participating political forces were not saying that they will fight for the first place. All were talking about the second, third places. Moreover, the predictability of the elections outcome also affected the number of voters. The election campaign was distinguished with debates which were well organized from technical terms. The reporters have carried out good job. As for the content of the debates, I can state that there were no discussions from ideological terms there. These were mainly debates of persons.
The interesting thing was that almost all political forces were touching upon the past in their campaign, who are guilty, who must be punished and tec. And this cast shadow on the program part. Although the Prosperous Armenia party has developed its campaign based on its programs and future plans.
But here I would like to mention one factor as well: the rating of My Step alliance has decreased a little. But this is a normal process after the revolution.
-The preliminary results are already announced, three political forces have been elected to the Parliament. What do you think, what Parliament do we have?
-Many ask me whether it is good or bad that the Republican Party of Armenia was not elected to the Parliament. I think this has no major significance. Today we have such a result that one party has received majority of votes and will be the sole governor. Even if the RPA was elected, nothing would change, such as for instance in the case of the activity of the Yelk faction during the previous Parliament. There was sharp criticism, sharp remarks, but what they were saying, in fact, had no impact.
We have transitioned to a parliamentary system, but our party system is not well developed. Our parties are not institutional structures which is a serious issue, and still works need to be done for that.
-The authorities have put a task for themselves to hold free and fair elections. How do you assess this process? During the previous elections there were talks on distribution of money, taking citizens to the polling stations by busses and etc. Were the same phenomena absent this time?
-Yes, what you mentioned, didn’t exist during these elections. But I want to highlight one thing here. All these is very good, but this is a result of the political will, and that will exists today and won’t exist tomorrow, people can change, new ones will arrive, therefore, institutional changes are needed.
And why this political will exists… the reason is very simple. Those people, who had a chance to win, they didn’t need the actions you mentioned, eventually, they had quite high legitimacy. This is very good, but there should be a task to build respective institutions. There is a very good description in English – watchdog, I mean that the respective institutions control the leadership, follow their activity and regularly outline the shortcomings. This can be a development of civil society, media and opposition.
-What developments to expect after the elections? What are the actions of extra-parliamentary forces?
-Yes, there will be interesting developments in the political field. On the one hand, the rating of the leadership will decline for objective and subjective reasons, eventually this kind of high rating cannot be maintained long, it will be reduced, therefore, the remaining political forces will start acting more actively. Here it is necessary to note that the current leadership is used to exist in the conditions of high rating, legitimacy. And this high legitimacy, rating tool must be used for some purpose, for instance, for new reforms, programs so that people will see a result. The leadership really has a lot to do.
As for the old political forces which were not elected to the Parliament, they need to make a re-branding, bring new faces, change the party’s face and capture a new position. If they manage to reach success in this process, we will already deal with other political forces. But I once again want to repeat what I said that we still do not have a real party system.
Interview by Anna Gziryan
Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan