Twenty five days remain to the extraordinary parliamentary elections in Armenia, the result of which, no doubt, will be fateful for the two conflicting South Caucasian states. Nikol Pashinyan intends to remain in the post of prime minister in order to sign a peace agreement with Azerbaijan on borders and transport corridors, changing the political and geographical structure of the region.If Robert Kocharyan returns to power, the current tense situation will continue and a policy of revanchism will be pursued.
Who will the Armenian people choose? The “capitulator” Nicola, or the experienced tough and pro-Russian Rob?
On May 22, the results of an express poll were presented in Armenia, reports blogger Grant Mikaelyan from Yerevan. The telephone survey was conducted by MPG/Gallup, with a sample of 800 nationwide and an error of ± 3.5%.
Changes in the foreign policy orientation of the population are noteworthy. If in the past Russia was perceived as the main military-political ally and a force that can be counted on in difficult times, now this image has changed dramatically. This change became especially sharp against the background of the movement of the Azerbaijani armed forces in the regions neighboring with Armenia, which began 10 days ago, when Russia decided to limit itself only to negotiating instruments. The Armenians believe that Russia organized these movements. Moscow rejected Yerevan’s claims about the occupation of Armenian territory and agreed with Baku’s version of a territorial dispute in the border area. Therefore, the CSTO has nothing to do in this dispute.
Asking the question “Who can Armenia count on and expect military-political assistance on in case of difficulty?” on October 6-7, 2020, 69% of Armenians named Russia. On May 18-21, 2021, only 38% of respondents hoped for Russia. In October, France was named 23 %, and in May 33%.
In May, the willingness of voters to participate in the elections is lower than before the last parliamentary elections in Armenia in 2018. In May 2021, 74% plan to participate in elections (in 2018 – 90%), and 25% (in 2018 – 8%) will not vote.
Closer to the elections, the level of people willing to participate in the elections will increase among voters, but it is clear that it will not be as high as in the past,” writes sociologist Grant Mikaelyan. This is because many politicians expressed the opinion that these elections legitimized Pashinyan and therefore refused to participate. Now, however, when both the authorities and the opposition have already announced their participation, the likelihood of any mass boycott of the elections will be close to zero.
The answers to the question of whether voters expect fair elections are interesting. The society is divided approximately equally, and this situation is almost no different from what it was 2 months ago. In March, 44.5% expected Pashinyan to hold fair elections, and 43.1% – dishonest, and another 12.5% did not express their positions. In May, 45.1% expect fair elections from Pashinyan, and 50.2% expect unfair elections, while there are almost 8% fewer undecided. That is, despite the frenzied anti-Pashinyan propaganda in the press, the accusations of the Prime Minister of lying, the Armenians have a little more faith in him.
The main question of the survey is about the level of support for politicians and political parties.
In February, there were 33.1% of Pashinyan’s supporters, and in May – 34.4%. In February, Kocharian had 5.6% of supporters, while Dashnaktsutyun had 2.2%. In May, the united Kocharyan-Dashnak group may gain 19.9% of the vote. The rest of the parties and groups are able to collect fewer votes than Kocharyan and the Dashnaks.
Strikingly, Nikol Pashinyan, who catastrophically lost the war (the “Civil Contract”, in the past it was called the “My Step” bloc), is confidently in the lead. The hopes of his opponents are that Levon Ter-Petrosyan, who got into the elections, and several small parties will take away some of the votes from the Prime Minister. Nevertheless, while Pashinyan has high chances of winning. In the worst case, he will get a new parliament with a hostile coalition led by Robert Kocharian. The next elections may finally bury the hopes of the opposition, and anticipating the events, the opposition leader of the “Enlightened Armenia” Edmon Marukyan asserts the possibility of canceling the elections under the pretext of tension in Zangezur.
In Karabakh, however, utter despondency reigns. The Karabakh Armenians cannot influence the elections in Armenia. They believe that the former government in Yerevan, instead of building a strong Armenia, surrendered everything to Russia, on the condition that she would guard the external border, and the authorities themselves would rob the country with impunity. This went on for more than two decades, writes blogger David Stepanyan from Khankendi.
“Pashinyan, on whom the people had pinned so many hopes, turned out to be even worse, he completely surrendered Artsakh. He just needs to approve this officially by signing a document according to which Armenia recognizes Azerbaijan within the Soviet borders; that is, together with Nagorno-Karabakh, to give up control of the strategic roads. Said A, say B … ”
In discussions on benches, Karabakh Armenians say that Aliyev “generously” decided to wait until the end of the elections, so that later, when the document is signed, there will be no doubts that the signature will be certified by the new government of Armenia, endowed with the people’s confidence. Maybe he is waiting for a civil war in Armenia to clean up as much as possible. Pashinyan may want to tea Armenia away from Russia, leaving it with what remains of Nagorno-Karabakh. His main argument will be that if Russia does not give anything in return, even security, why should Armenia remain in a strategic alliance with it? The fate of the people of Karabakh is not important to Pashinyan, this is what the Armenians in Karabakh gossip on the benches.—0—