Interview with Vahan Hovhannisyan, member of ARF Bureau
ARF expressed dissatisfaction with the result of the parliamentary election. In your opinion, who is to blame for this situation, the society, the authorities, anyone else?
The society is to blame but it is not fair to blame everyone equally for the fault of the society. The government is to blame, the political forces forming government who used the desperate, miserable state of the society which was morally bankrupt as a result of their policy.
So, is there a meaning in dealing with politics, organizing and holding elections?
We must struggle to be able to enlarge the range of people who are ready for a free voting.
Do you think it is possible?
Nothing is impossible, simply struggle. So, one should not be desolated and lose hope.
Will the ARF nominate a presidential candidate in 2013?
Soon we will hold a Supreme Meeting of ARF which will identify our future actions. I cannot say anything now. There are separate views but I cannot say what decision will be made on the elections.
There is an opinion that only PA benefited from cooperation with PA, while ANC and ARF lost a lot of votes. Was this cooperation effective, in your opinion?
The purpose was to monitor the election. I think this cooperation was not effective. But it was not right to reject this attempt, as the representatives of the Heritage Party did.
Is the opposition to blame for the results of the elections?
Everyone was to blame. But as I said, the guilt of the society is divided in different portions. Mainly the government was to blame.
ARF is dissatisfied with the result of the election but you did not dispute them at the Constitutional Court.
Apply to the Constitution Court for what? In other words, when have you achieved justice in our courts that you now advice us to? I don’t think there is a meaning to apply to the Constitutional Court. On the day when the CC dismissed our claim disputing the provision prohibiting publication of the lists of people who voted, any application is meaningless. In addition, I do not think that the opposition has enough evidence to change anything. Earlier elections used to report outrageous violence, ballot studying, kidnapping, etc, this time other methods of election fraud are used. Coercion, vote buying, distribution of votes by force, everything was an intimate process. It was not done openly to be able to report evidence to the court. A lot of people tell everything honestly but refuse to make a testimony. Election fraud was perpetrated by a state machine and now it is meaningless to dispute it within the state machine.
If the parties of the joint headquarters to monitor the elections disputed together, wouldn’t it ensure a political effect?
It could have a political effect. But at least three parties, ANC, ARF and PA, should act together. Dispute the election result together, report all the evidence on breaches. This scenario is impossible for PA for several reasons. PA will not take that step. And we are not interesting in applying to the Constitutional Court with the Congress.
But it could have an effect.
I don’t think so. There would be a result if everyone went. But the option of everyone seems to have been closed.
The government seems to be considering a coalition. Was ARF offered to form a coalition government?
Would you accept if there were one?
What will a parliamentary group of 5 do in parliament? How do you imagine activities of 5?
In a parliament where the ruling majority is held by people designated by the bureaucratic machine it makes no difference whether it is 5 or 10. We had 16 members of parliament 5 years ago, they had been elected by another society, in other conditions, other economic development. These two situations are not compatible. 16, 5 or 1… It makes no difference. We will fight till the end. Our extra-parliamentary activities will undergo serious change. But it is an issue that the Bureau should decide.
Will you opt for action outside the National Assembly?
We have never limited ourselves to parliamentary activities. There are dozens of civilized methods of fight which are combined with parliamentary activities.
Social polarization, poverty, immigration are reported to grow year over year. In addition, those are official statistics. How does it happen that in a country impoverished day by day the government gets more votes in every next election? How do you explain this paradox?
This is a paradox. The authorities know they deceive the society but they did it in a crafty way. I don’t care what the government thinks. I care for what the society thinks. Most people probably thought that their vote will not be important and they can undergo coercion, accept election bribes, and so on. A lot of people thought so while now it turns out that their vote was important.