23 February 2013

Post-Election Armenia: many analysts, including me, under-estimated the severity of discontent and unfairly under-appreciated the appeal of opposition candidate Raffi Hovannisian, who has now emerged as a potential “agent of change” in Armenia.

As much of the opposition is now standing behind Hovhannisian, they are more significantly uniting against the government.  But it also affirms the weakness of the main opposition parties for failing to unite before the election.

With the official election results are challenged by many, more importantly, the current political struggle is less about the specific results, and more about the general opposition to the current government.  In this way, the campaign is only continuing, even beyond the election itself.

The opposition to Sarkisian is only growing, with both a more dynamic scale and an expanding scope, but there is also a general, and perhaps dangerous, lack of clear or coherent strategy behind this new-found momentum of opposition to the government.  And in order to succeed, there must be a strategic articulation of more concrete demands and more precise political goals.Given the broader situation and underling discontent, the situation may be moving toward a more heated and intense conflict, similar to 2008, which was never fully resolved and certainly never sincerely addressed.

It is simply too early to say at this point how things will develop, however, but also depends as much on the Armenian government’s reaction, or over-reaction, to this mounting crisis.  Nevertheless, the Armenian people are demanding more of a choice and more of a voice in politics.  And there is an opportunity inherent in this crisis, to force open the closed political and economic systems.  Armenia’s “oligarchs” should begin packing their bags now, and buy one-way tickets to Dubai… 

New, updated and in-depth analysis to come shortly……