Hetq speaks with political analyst Stepan Danielyan about recent developments in
In your opinion, what consequences can the recent resignation of Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan have on the country’s political landscape? What will change in terms of the political line of the four non-coalition parties that were about to call for a vote of no confidence in the government?
Naturally, the prime minister’s resignation will change the political balance in the country. First off, Serzh Sargsyan’s influence is weakened. The fact that Sargsyan said he would appoint a new prime minister acceptable to all proves that his position and that of the Republican Party is weakening.
Prior to this, the tone of the statement made by Republican Party members was characteristic of jungle law. They were always saying that they were powerful. The fact that now they are talking about sitting down and discussing the selection of a new prime minister signifies that relations are changing. That’s to say, they aren’t as powerful as before.
There’s another important tendency here. Given that the new prime minister will be acceptable to the others, it means that he will not only be a candidate proposed by the Republican Party, regardless of whether the person is a member of that party or not. In other words, the new prime minister will not only find support on the parliamentary majority.
We all know the philosophy on what that party is based. The pack is rallying around the leader, and when the leader’s infallibility is called into question, the pack begins to break up. In this context, we can register another tendency – the possibility that in the near future the Republican Party will begin to split into factions.
Naturally, this new state of affairs assumes that the four parliamentary non-coalition forces must correct their tactics and strategy.
In essence, we can say that Serzh Sargsyan has begun the process of the peaceful handover of power.
But wasn’t the resignation of the prime minister just a tactical step by Serzh Sargsyan to invalidate the no confidence vote scheduled for April 28?
What do you mean by a tactical step? There is a demand and the execution of that demand. Who is interested if it’s a tactical step or otherwise? Serzh Sargsyan showed his weakness by doing this. And there is solid evidence of this – public distrust, a weakening economy with no long-term prospects, a failed foreign policy, and even a lack of confidence within his team. I believe that the time for tactical and other similar steps has passed. Serzh Sargsyan is a failed state official and the time has come for him to think about retiring. That is if he can enjoy his retirement seeing the state he has plunged the nation into.
Fine, so who do you see as the most likely candidate for the job of prime minister? Didn’t you hint at something in your Facebook page?
I have no answer for this.
The Prosperous Armenia Party and the ARF do not rule out the possibility of again entering a government coalition. Doesn’t this mean that the political landscape will resemble that which existed in April 2008 at the start of Serzh Sargsyan’s tenure as president?
Serzh Sargsyan had just started his presidency in 2008 and the political agenda was different. Today, Sargsyan is a president on the way out and there is now a struggle being waged for power. If a coalition were to be formed, the role of the Republican Party would be secondary as a result. Serzh Sargsyan will merely have a few levers to exert any impact. Without a parliamentary majority the president’s influence is quite limited.
You confidently speak about Serzh Sargsyan’s peaceful handover of power. Why are you so convinced?
I believe there are two reasons for thinking this. The first is Serzh Sargsyan’s personal make-up. He’s an individual who avoids confrontation in favor of making deals in the shadows, especially if we take into account the number of legal violations he has permitted during his tenure.
He will seek some kind of arrangement rather than doing battle. The second reason is the lack of trust on the part of foreign powers. Here, I’m referring to all external players. Sargsyan has no support base on any front.