flag of ancient Georgia flies as hopes stir
for a new administration..
Georgias 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 Armenias opposition earlier
Members of Armenias National Assembly closely
watched as their neighbors 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
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 didnt
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
years campaign for President of Armenia,
says that Armenias opposition will surely
be inspired and it will lead to actions here.
We shouldnt 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,
Opposition candidate Stepan Demirchyan, who lost
to President Robert Kocharyan in a runoff election
in March, also sent congratulations to Georgia.
Speaking on behalf of the Justice
bloc, Demirchyan said:
Our points of view and appraisals are widely
known and they havent changed. We havent
adapted ourselves to illegitimate authorities
and we believe that the most important is establishing
the legitimate power and dismissal of the illegitimate
Republican party leader and former Prime Minister
Aram Sargsyan says Georgias oppositional
victory will be felt in Armenia.
Im sure that there will be a chain
reaction, which will be continued in Armenia,
Beyond that, Sargsyan says his party and other
oppositional forces were too indulgent in the
first round of Armenias contested and denounced
elections in February.
I regret that on February 19 and 20 we
didnt finish what we started as we had real
opportunities for that, Sargsyan says. Today,
yes, I feel kind of envious to what happened in
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 Georgias
elections and Armenias.
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:
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 didnt 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 Georgias opposition is a victory for
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.