ArmeniaNow.com - Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 December 5 , 2003 


Georgia on My Mind: Politicians reflect on power play to the north


The flag of ancient Georgia flies as hopes stir for a new administration..

Georgia’s “velvet revolution” became a topic of lively discussions in public transport, in yards and around family tables of Armenia this week as people are talking about the victory of the Georgian opposition and reflecting on the defeat of Armenia’s opposition earlier this year.

Members of Armenia’s National Assembly closely watched as their neighbor’s president was run out of office. Locally, opposition forces took courage (and some envy) from what happened in Georgia. Pro-government leaders, meanwhile, said it would be a mistake for the opposition here to draw parallels or get ideas for something similar.

Vazgen Manukyan.

The Leader of the National Democratic Party (NDP) and one-time presidential candidate Vazgen Manukyan addressed the Georgian people, leaders and their interim president Nino Burjanadze, saying:

“It gladdens and inspires us that the Georgian people headed by opposition not only didn’t accept an illegitimate regime, but thanks to decisive, peaceful and insistent struggle they also freed themselves from the president, who was a symbol of that regime.

“What happened in Georgia had the clearest similarity with our elections of 1996. There was only one difference. Authorities of Armenia chose the way of solving the situation with shooting.”

Manukyan, who was an early contender in this year’s campaign for President of Armenia, says that Armenia’s opposition will surely be inspired and it will lead to actions here.

“We shouldn’t wait for another election. Before that there must be both presidential and parliamentary elections, as continuing with this new situation and walking the same road is fatal,” Manukyan says.

Opposition candidate Stepan Demirchyan, who lost to President Robert Kocharyan in a runoff election in March, also sent congratulations to Georgia.

Aram Sargsyan.

Speaking on behalf of the “Justice” bloc, Demirchyan said:

“Our points of view and appraisals are widely known and they haven’t changed. We haven’t adapted ourselves to illegitimate authorities and we believe that the most important is establishing the legitimate power and dismissal of the illegitimate president.”

Republican party leader and former Prime Minister Aram Sargsyan says Georgia’s oppositional victory will be felt in Armenia.

“I’m sure that there will be a chain reaction, which will be continued in Armenia,” he says.

Beyond that, Sargsyan says his party and other oppositional forces were too indulgent in the first round of Armenia’s contested and denounced elections in February.

“I regret that on February 19 and 20 we didn’t finish what we started as we had real opportunities for that,” Sargsyan says. “Today, yes, I feel kind of envious to what happened in Georgia.”

Galust Sahakyan

Pro-government parties here take a different view of events to the near north.

Dashnak party member Gegham Manukyan advises the opposition of Armenia to not “make attempts” based on what they hear coming from Georgia, adding that parallels should not be drawn between Georgia’s elections and Armenia’s.

Manukyan says Georgia has hard economic and social conditions and a “general political instability” that makes it more vulnerable to revolt. And the overtaking of parliament and eventual resignation by President Eduard Shevardnadze, Manukyan says, were allowed by the “inability of authorities to control the whole country”.

Galust Sahakyan, leader of the National Assembly majority bloc, Hanrapetakan, sees no similarities at all between Armenian and Georgian oppositions:

Artashes Geghamyan.

“I think what happened in Georgia cannot have any political effects on us,” Sahakyan says. “I always said that there is no opposition in Armenia, there are only a few oppositional figures. In Georgia both people and opposition knew what they wanted. While in Armenia even the opposition didn’t know what they wanted.”

Somewhere in between the partisan rhetoric, leader of oppositional National Unity party Artashes Geghamyan says it is too early to say if victory for Georgia’s opposition is a victory for the country.

“We can give an estimation to the events taken place in the neighboring republic only after it will become clear for all of us what will be with Abkhazia, Adjaria and Southern Osetia. Only after solutions to those problems we will be able to tell was it for the benefit or to the detriment of the integrity of Georgia,” Geghamyan says.

 


According to Agnes
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  Inside
 

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Play for Pay

A concert in Yerevan last weekend promoted Thursday's All Armenia Fund telethon. Overall the telethon raised more than $6 million, with some $600,000 coming from within Armenia.

 

 





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