Coordinator of the Armenian National Congress Levon Zurabyan told the Armenian service of RFE/RL it is not ruled out that the Congress will participate in the Yerevan Elders’ Council.
The Congress ran in the local election in Yerevan and got 9% in 2009. The RPA received about 40% then and won an absolute victory which has such representation in the Elders’ Council that it does not even need to form a coalition with the PAP.
After the election of the Elders’ Council, the Congress boycotted but did not resign from the Council. And now, Levon Zurabyan says ANC may review its decision to boycott the Council.
The Congress will have a parliamentary group of seven MPs.
It is not excluded that the Council seats were meant to comfort the ANC’s dissatisfaction with the outcome of the parliamentary elections. It is possible to meet the “mandate” pretensions of some individuals since only 7 were satisfied with the result of the parliamentary elections. Surely, it is difficult to compare the mandates of the Elders’ Council and the parliament but the Congress is in a difficult situation.
On the other hand, the Congress may have other reasons to strive for the Council’s mandates.
The Congress treats civil initiatives in Yerevan with obvious jealousy. They find such initiatives as their rivals or declare them governmental projects or orders.
At the same time, we can see that these initiatives, the civil activity is more active and effective in Yerevan than the Congress activities. For example, they managed to partially solve the issue of Mashtots Park but at the same time to launch a legal process and hold responsible the anti-constitutional activities of those related to the park processes.
This successful example may become a precedent for further examples. There was another example of the “yellow helmets”, when a group of citizens did not demand some state bodies to do something but made direct steps fitting its actions in the constitutional right.
Perhaps, the Armenian National Congress is trying to ensure its Yerevan positions and come out of the shadow of civil initiatives thus entering into civil processes.
There is some positive prospect but at the same time there are some risks.
If the Congress intends to go to the Elders’ Council to activate its civil involvement and to support the civil initiatives from inside and not to become their commander, then it is only necessary to welcome the decision of the Congress. Support does not mean that the Congress needs to act by the orders of the civil society.
The issue should not be to give orders or lead someone but to work with the common objective of serving the common value and interest. In this case, the Congress may really contribute to the over party fight.
But if the Congress intends to serve the political interest of that structure, it may play a destructive role in the civil fight and may support the government system and the city authorities.
In general, interesting processes and trends can be noticed around the civil initiatives which have been stimulated by the action of Mashtots park and its partial success (partial because the authorities have not responded to it in legal terms yet). The point is that noticing that success and being part of it, some political forces or those of political character but apolitical organizations and initiatives are trying to turn the situation upside down instead of adjusting themselves to the situations. For example, some groups find such concerns in the behavior and projects of Sardarapat movement.
The Congress might be seeing some challenges to its political interest here and in order to react and resists to them properly it has decided to go to the Elders’ Council.
This general trend may be unnecessary and unconstructive. The trends to “misappropriate” the civil initiatives for their political aims may destroy these initiatives from inside, posing unnecessary issues to these initiatives and undermine their intellectual and spiritual energy even if the goals are very kind and society-targeted.
The political tactics should not be aimed at misappropriating the initiatives but at fitting themselves in the frameworks of the initiatives. After all, partisan thinking in Armenia is characteristic not only of the parties but also non-partisan initiatives. Partisan thinking in Armenia reaches the level of individual consciousness in the result of which the greater part of Armenian individuals consider themselves parties and thinks that the others besides them and thinking differently from them are not from their parties.
This thinking is often based on an honest basis and ideas but they are destructive in essence and they slow down the efficiency of not only people who have these ideas but also those out of it.
In these conditions, a similar behavior towards civil initiatives can be seen which may cause detonation, leading to failure of the civil network still under formation, while the opposite is needed.