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ARMENIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS (3)

Ömer Engin LÜTEM, Retired Ambassador
21 February 2008 - ERAREN
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!àӐ le="text-align: justify;">According to the unofficial election results, the Prime Minister Serj Sarkisian by getting more than 50% of the total votes is elected as the President of the Armenia.

Ter Petrosyan and other leaders of the opposition parties and the parties itself are organizing the protest demonstrations by claiming that some irregularities took place during the election. After the presidential election of the 2004 the same allegations were voiced and mass manifestations took place however, they were suppressed within two months due to the determined attitude of the security forces. The irregularities were also mentioned in the reports of some international organizations like OSCE but it was claimed that these were not important enough for altering the results and of the elections which were considered as valid.

It is possible that the same scenarios would be repeated for this election too, in other words the protest manifestations would disappear after a while and the international organizations will specify that the irregularities done during the elections were not important enough to affect the result of the election.

It would better to wait for the statement of the new president in order to know what will be his new policies; but as Sarkisian was the closest colleague of Kocharian in the last ten years it is possible to conclude that he will probably continue to the policies of the former president.

In this framework, it will not be realistic to wait for important changes in the Karabagh and Turkey’s policies of Armenia. But as the ongoing policies lead Armenia to the isolation, Sarkisian can start to look for the new solutions. However, all the important concession to be given in order to reach solutions of the existing problems will be met with the opposition of the Diaspora which is dominated by nationalistic feelings and the Dashnak Party which is the coalition partner of the government and known with its hard core approach. Therefore, ending the collaboration with the Dashnaks for the new government could be a precaution which would facilitates the upcoming negotiations.

For the other issue, at least for the beginning, it is clear that Sarkisian will continue Kocharian’s policies. One can expect that Russia which supported Sarkisian for the elections will have a more powerful position in the Armenian Economy and that Armenia compared the Kocharian’s presidency became a more ardent follower of Russia in foreign policy. On the other hand, it is obvious that Armenia will continue to participate to the New Neighborhood Policy of the EU and will try to preserve its good relations with the USA unless these are not in contradiction with Russian Policies.
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