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    Armenia consigned to pro-Russian billionaires - COMMENT

    This time Karen Karapetyan elected a long-term leader

    Baku. 10 April. REPORT.AZ/ Parliamentary elections in Armenia have been officially announced. According to the final results, 1 million 575 thousand 768 citizens out of 2 million 588 thousand 468 participated in 2009 polling stations which means 60.93 % of voter turnout.

    The voting results were as follows: 49.12 % of the voters who participated in the elections voted for ruling Republican Party of Armenia (770 441 votes), 27,32% - "Tsarukyan" bloc (428 836 votes), YELQ with 7.77% (122 049 votes) and the ARF Dashnaktsutyun with 6.57% (103 048 votes), Armenian Revival Party with 3,71% (58 265 votes), Ohanyan-Raffi-Oskanyan bloc with 2,7 % (32 508 votes), People's Party of Armenia Congress bloc with 1,65% (25 950) votes, Armenian Democratic Liberal Party with 0,94% (14 739 votes), Communist Party of Armenia with 0,75% (11 741 votes).

    Parties had to exceed 5%, party blocks – 7% limit in order to hold position in legislature. Thus, the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) thus claims 58 mandates, including three for minority representatives (Yezidi, Assyrian and Kurdish), the Tsarukyan bloc has 31 seats overall, including one for a Russian community representative, while YELQ bloc and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation - Dashnaktsutyun get nine and seven parliamentary seats, respectively. Under the new constitution, the parliament is formed by 105 deputies.

    Notably, if a party receives a majority of the vote but gets less than 54% of the seats, they will be awarded additional seats to give them 54% of the total. If a party wins over two-thirds of seats, the losing parties will be given extra seats reducing the share of seats of winning party to two-thirds. If a government is not formed within six days of the preliminary results being released, a run-off round of voting between the top two parties must be held within 28 days.

    According to the official statistics, in general, parties and blocs in the parliamentary elections spent nearly 1 million 782 thousand dollars in campaign. Ruling Republican Party had spent 786 thousand dollars in the process. In other words, almost half of the funds spent on elections by ruling party. The opposition "Ohanian-Hovhannisyan, Oskanian" block has spent 183 thousand dollars, "Dashnaktsutyun" Party - 3 times less - 62 thousand dollars.

    However, according to the Armenian media and foreign observers there were various enticing promises to voters during the election campaign. This means that financial means spent in elections were much more than official figures.

    This was the first parliamentary elections after the constitutional amendment on October 5, 2015.

    After the amendments to the Constitution, the president's powers were given to parliament and head of state will be elected by parliament not by people. The presidential term increased from 5 to 7 years. In addition, president cannot be elected more than once. It also means an increased role in the management of Armenia's parliament. In fact, situation in Armenia is similar to changes in Georgian political life after former president Mikheil Saakashvili. In other words, Yerevan is imitating Tbilisi. It is possible to show a few examples.

    Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili was put forward against Saakashvili in Georgia. As a new power in Armenia chief of Gazprom-Armenia who served as prime minister for two months Karen Karapetyan was presented. Similar to Georgia, armenians increased the role of the parliament. B. Ivanishvili tries to restore relations with Russia. Moscow using various means to restore Russia's declining influence in Armenia.

    By the way Eurasian Development Bank's(EDB)Centre forIntegration Studies “EDBIntegration Barometer” stated that in 2016, the number of Armenians who consider Russia as a friend fell by 17% to 69%. According to the study, in previous years, this figure was higher in Armenia. For example, in 2015 the figure was 86 % and in 2014 - 87 %.

    According to the document, significant increase in electricity prices which was supplied by Russian companies in 2015, has played a key role in this matter.

    Therefore, Russia by creating conditions for adoption of a new constitution in Armenia replaces used figures in political life of Armenia with new and more loyal ones.

    There is no doubt, that Armenia exists because of Russia and diaspora. In this regard, the Diaspora and pro-western parties were defeated in the election.

    Ohanian-Raffi-Oskanyan bloc, People's Party of Armenia Congress bloc and Armenian Democratic Liberal Party could not pass the election barrier. That means Diaspora and pro-western parties were defeated in the election. It should be noted that the Diaspora also referring to "Dashnaktsutyun". In this regard, their participation in country's policy is provided. 

    In Georgia opposition led by Saakashvili, comparing to previous election, is being gradually pushed out of political scene. Older generation of Armenian politicians faces the same fate as former president and ministers have been defeated in parliamentary elections. 2.7 percent (32 508) of popular votes gathered by “Ohanyan-Raffi-Oskanian” bloc including three ministers reveal attitude toward them.

    Two former foreign ministers of Armenia – leader of “Heritage” party Rafi Hovannisian and leader of “Solidarity” party Vardan Oskanian left political stage after results of parliamentary elections on April 2.

    Activists of their organizations will supposedly come together in the organization headed by former defense minister Seyran Ohanyan.

    Notably, both politicians are US citizens. Raffi Hovannisian was Armenia’s foreign minister in 1991-1992 years. In 2013 he was nominated for Armenian presidency. Vardan Oskanian was foreign minister of Armenia in 1998-2008.

    This probably also marks end of political career of former Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrosyan. Because he also supported blocs of this type. From time to time Petrosyan seems to make uncoordinated with Moscow statements related to liberation of occupied Azerbaijani lands.

    So we see that two major groups remain in the parliament. One of them is Republican Party supported by current president Serzh Sargsyan and prime-minister Karen Karapetyan. Prime-minister Karen Karapetyan has been elected to the parliament as Republican Party nominee. Billionaire Gagik Tsarukyan is on opposite side.

    It is not excluded that both of them are connected to one center – Moscow. In other words, it is not excluded that parliamentary opposition and government in Armenia will be more pro-Russian. In other words, Moscow can feel confident about Armenian opposition in the parliament and government ratified there.

    Karen Karapetyan, brother of Russian billionaire Samvel Karapetyan and Argam Abramyan, son of former prime minister Ovik Abramyan were nominated from “Tsarukyan” bloc. It means Armenian parliament may become stage for struggle of billionaires.

    Notably, Samvel Karapetyan earlier used to announce his support to prime minister Karen Karapetyan. Both billionaires are reported to have around 5 billion US dollars.

    On the eve of elections Gagik Tsarukyan pledged to invest in Armenia 15 billion US dollars together with his friends in case of victory.

    In other words, Tsarukyan promised to stake $15 billion against $10 billion of Karapetyans.

    After elections Armenian prime minister Karen Karapetyan told that he resigns as head of Gazprom-Armenia and wants to carry out governmental reforms. He pledges to increase efforts towards energy provision of population.

    These statements give message as who and which power will control Armenian government in the future.

    This time Karen Karapetyan seems to have been elected as a long-term leader.

    In such case, Republican Party with 49.12 percent votes can form a coalition with “Exit” bloc (7.77 percent) or “Dashnaktsutyun” party (6.57 percent) to ensure 54.5 percent stable parliamentary support. Current speaker of Armenian parliament Galust Saakyan told that Samvel Karapetyan’s brother Karen Karapetyan can chair a new parliament.

    Before elections Serzh Sargsyan by providing several ministerial positions to Dashnaks hinted that he may work with them in the future. In this sense it is rational to expect that Dashnaks will be included in new coalition government.

    Thus, just like Georgia the fate of Armenian are given to the hands of billionaires. None has doubt that the Ivanishvili’s way to billions started in Russia. In other words, he became a billionaire thanks to his business in Russia.

    Karen Karapetyan and Samvel Karapetyan also gained billions thanks to Azerbaijan’s northern neighbor.

    Now it’s time to spend these billions for the benefit of political, economic and geopolitical interests. That’s why changes in Georgia and Armenia are similar. Thus, Georgia and Armenia are consigned to pro-Russian billionaires.

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