RSC COMMENTS ON KARABAKH ELECTION FOR “EMERGING EUROPE”

RSC COMMENTS ON KARABAKH ELECTION FOR “EMERGING EUROPE”

In comments for Dominik Istrate for his article, “Four takeaways from Nagorno Karabakh’s elections,” published on 2 April by “Emerging Europe,” RSC Director Richard Giragosian focused on the joint parliamentary and presidential election in Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh).

The comments started with a candid criticism of the decision to hold the election, arguing that the election was a “grave concern for public health in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.” Giragosian then suggested that both the campaign rhetoric and the political discourse were “fairly uniformly consistent, with little difference or debate over issues of defense, foreign policy or strategy,” explaining that “such consensus reflects the virtual ‘state of war’ with neighbouring Azerbaijan and is further grounded in the strategic relationship between Karabakh and Armenia.” And perhaps more controversially, he assessed the likely election of President Arayik Harutyunyan as possibly representing “a widening of interests” between Stepanakert and Yerevan."

In terms of the broader context, he also held that the election will have “little or no impact on conflict settlement,” explaining that “as Karabakh itself has been excluded from the peace process and despite its obvious significance as the most direct party to the conflict, it is Armenia that has long negotiated on its behalf,” but adding that the Armenian government has led “a concerted effort to bring in the elected representatives of Karabakh into the talks as an equal participant.”

And Giragosian concluded by stressing that, nevertheless, “yet another free and fair election” has contributed to the democratic credentials of Karabakh, which he argued was “the strongest in the region, surpassing not only Azerbaijan but also Armenia itself in a long series of democratic and pluralistic elections.”  And then added that “in terms of the outlook for conflict resolution, a solidly democratic Karabakh stands out as a more reliable ‘partner for peace’ when and if Azerbaijan moves from its maximalist stance to a more sincere negotiator in the peace talks.”

https://emerging-europe.com/news/four-takeaways-from-nagorno-karabakhs-elections/