Although I am not a citizen of Armenia and have no right to vote whatsoever, I am a taxpaying, law abiding resident of the republic and I obviously care about what is going on around me in society. For the last few weeks especially I have been closely following the political arena, examining where the politicians stand and waiting for their decisions to be made regarding their ambitions to be president. I admire Artur Baghdasarian’s decision to refuse to endorse Levon Ter-Petrossian and to continue his fight for the presidency—he is a vibrant maverick candidate and the program of the Orinats Yerkir party which he leads has always impressed me. Unfortunately, the alliance I wanted to see as a true opposition force—Baghdasarian, Raffi Hovannisian, and Vasken Manukian, did not happen. And none of them so far at least have joined forces with the ARF-Dashnaktsutiun, the candidate of which, Vahan Hovannisian, has vowed to stick it out to the end.
At this point in the race, while trying to be as subjective as possible in my thinking and interpretation regarding the elections, I want to express my support for Vahan Hovannisian. Of all the opposition candidates I think he is generally the strongest ideologically and is very confident of a potential win. His campaign message hit home with me and although it may be a bid vague regarding his intentions for the next five years, I know the party program and have never lost my faith in it as a viable ideology that is essential for the Armenian people to use as a basis for its struggle to maintain the integrity of their nation. I think the socialist principles of the ARF-D are what will define the Armenian republic’s society, if not in the immediate future perhaps more importantly in the long term. Social equality and justice are two principles that the party has always preached, and their goals put forth during the parliamentary elections are realizable, they are certainly attainable, and under Hovannisian they can be brought to fruition. He would be even stronger if he received the backing of candidate Vasken Manukian, who was the main challenger against Levon Ter-Petrossian in 1996 and was believed by the people at the time to be the actual winner (endorsed by the ARF-D then). A campaign alliance with Raffi Hovannisian was anticipated but regrettably that did not happen.
Naturally no one can really say what is going to happen on election day, which is Tuesday. For about four months now the newspapers and people on the street have been predicting that Prime Minister Serge Sargsyan will win. And as I wrote in a previous post unwavering support for former president Levon Ter-Petrossian is troubling since I think he is an untrustworthy, shifty-eyed character who will not bring anything beneficial to Armenian society, in fact its advancement will be stilted for the three years he pledges to serve (rather than the full five-year presidential term). The more I ponder the more I realize that a vote for Dashnaktsutiun’s Vahan Hovannisian would be a wise one, no matter what his chances might be. But the most important thing in these elections are for citizens of Armenia to get out the vote, to cast a ballot with their heart instead of cash, and to choose the candidate they see is the justifiable one to elect. Needless to say, we are all anxious to see what materializes on February 19.