The very first session of the National Assembly showed that not only the authorities but the entire political system of the country is changing.
The harsh criticism the program of the government encountered in the National Assembly proved that the institution of political responsibility is being formed in Armenia. And even if the Republican Party approves and affirms confidence in government, everyone knows that the parliament stages a real harsh political fight.
An important change took place. What had previously been called by the authorities opposition’s populism has now become a demand of responsibility. Not the program of the government but the extent of responsibility of the prime minister for the emigration, the rate of dram, the growth of poverty and economic decline in general is discussed.
During independence, the institution of political accountability has never been operational in Armenia. People could be arrested for stealing a chicken, while the collapse of the entire economy was considered just a mistake, and everyone has the right to make mistakes. The institution of responsibility is not laid down in the legislation. The judges who pass verdicts which are later dismissed by courts of higher instance are never held responsible.
The next step of the opposition should be institutionalization of responsibility. The current and former authorities who did not have adequate opposition and political opponents did everything they could to deprive the society and their opponents of mechanism of control and accountability, recall or resignation in case of defaults.
Now there is opposition in Armenia, and it is proven in the first session of parliament. But the opposition will never come to power if it does not insist on the introduction of the institution of political responsibility and revocation of the ruling forces. Democratic governance is a very simple mechanism. People elect those who bring the best program, monitor its implementation, and if the promises are not met, they do not re-elect the same party but hold it responsible. Armenia has even taken away the right to monitor implementation of election pledges.
If the parliamentary opposition succeeds in introducing this mechanism, it may ensure full democratic transition of the political system. Although it is minority in the parliament, the opposition can do that. Strange though it may seem, with the help of the president.
Whatever is said about Serzh Sargsyan upholding the interests of the oligarchic class, the latter is evidently becoming a burden for him, and he wants to create mechanisms to curb the oligarchs and his own party. He will hardly be proud of the incident in Harsnakar or Samvel Alexanyan’s cynical reaction.
The best mechanism is the opposition. It is not accidental that Serzh Sargsyan did everything he could to have the whole opposition enter the parliament. Judging by the confusion of Hovik Abrahamyan and stunned Republicans who are not used to resistance, Serzh Sargsyan has succeeded.
Oligarchs are also stunned because they suddenly met people in parliament who can show them to their real place. And it does not matter that Samvel Alexanyan swaggers and Galust Sahakyan shouts. They understand that the good days have passed, and true political fight has started.
The most important thing is that all this is shown on TV, and now everyone knows that Stepan Demirchyan or Nikol may show Samvel Alexanyan to his place. The era of arbitrariness of the oligarchs is coming to an end. Another shock and it will die.