PanARMENIAN.Net - The Armenian National Congress (ANC) held its rally on March 1 in commemoration of the tragic events of 2008. Traditionally, the concluding remarks of ANC leader, first president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrossian abounding in sarcasm and irony, were the most interesting part of the meeting. The participants particularly liked the remark that “the ship of the second president (Robert Kocharian) has already sunk, and the ship of the third one (Serzh Sargsyan) is sinking”. During previous rallies Ter-Petrossian used to compare the political fight to chess, while now he seems to be obsessed again by the “naval battle”game so popular among Soviet-era students.
Failing to reach agreement over the ANC list for the upcoming elections, and thus confirming rumors about conflicts over the number and order of candidates in the list, the ANC Political Council entrusted their leader with this mission. This vividly demonstrated the route Ter-Petrossian’s own ship follows in the ocean of political battle. Indeed, Ter-Petrossian still enjoys indisputable authority within the ANC; meanwhile, making up an electoral list for 18 parties is a challenging task. However, Stevenson’s novels hint us that captains of pirate ships were getting a “black label” from their crew in case they failed to implement a mission, with all subsequent consequences.
Another indirect proof of ANC ship condition was the meeting of the opposition Heritage party on March 2. Though the meeting did not officially announce the alliance between the Heritage and Free Democrats, the parties confirmed that they have reached a principle agreement on the matter, and they just need a formal procedure which is likely to be finalized at Free Democrats meeting on March 11. By joining efforts with the Free Democrats, Heritage will acquire both financial support and skilled election experts. It’s worth mentioning that 11 heads of regional offices of Ter-Petrossian’s 2008 presidential campaign are currently members of Free Democrats, including the head of the chief office Alexander Arzumanian.
A number of pro-governmental parties and unions also organized their meetings and rallies. The coalition party Orinats Yerkir which many experts believe will fail at the coming elections due to lack of popular support, held its meeting on March 3. Leaders of the party’s coalition partners, head of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, President Serzh Sargsyan and head of Prosperous Armenia party Gagik Tsarukyan attended the event. As always, the meeting praised party leader Artur Baghdasaryan who spoke for about 45 minutes, once again voicing his loyalty to current President.
An interesting remark: following the stand-up party organized during the meeting, the doors of the Sport Concert Complex that hosted the event appeared to be closed. This was perhaps done to prevent participants of the meeting driven by “support and commitment” to the party, from escaping. This was the first time I witnessed such a thing during a SCC-hosted event.
Pro-governmental MIAK party bringing together young liberals also convened a meeting during the weekend. The meeting participants voiced their support to President Serzh Sargsyan and said several MIAK members may appear on RPA election list.
The final stroke of the week was the rally of public patriotic organization Armenian Eagles held in Freedom Square on March 4. Notorious leader of the party, deputy minister for sport and youth affairs of Armenia Khachik Asryan spoke at the meeting. Claiming he is “ready to protect the gates of hell by Serzh Sargsyan’s order”, Asryan voiced his unconditional support for the current president. Quoting numerical superiority of the rally’s “eagles” over ANC supporters, he declared that “it is Levon Ter-Petrossian’s ship that sinks, and not Serzh Sargsyan’s one.”