Azerbaijani Center for Strategic Studies assesses pre-election situation in Armenia (PHOTO)

Azerbaijani Center for Strategic Studies assesses pre-election situation in Armenia (PHOTO)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 18 / Trend, E.Mehdiyev /

The Center for Strategic Studies (CSS) under the President of Azerbaijan held a briefing on the pre-election situation in Armenia on Tuesday.

Presidential elections are scheduled for February 18, 2013, political intrigue ceased there during the first phase of the pre-election campaign, the director of the CSS Farhad Mammadov said.

The political picture in Armenia changed following parliamentary elections in May. Armenian society demonstrated its inability to understanding the events taking place in their country, Mammadov said.

He said that according to official data, in 2011, the poverty rate in Armenia reached 35 percent.

"Excluding transfers from foreign countries, this figure covers 53 percent of the population. Besides, the population has completely lost the natural instinct for self-preservation. The choice of the electorate is largely based on two factors, fear and material interest. Through the intimidation and bribery of voters, Serzh Sargsyan's Republican Party of Armenia and the Prosperous Armenia of Gagik Tsarukyan became favorites of the pre-election campaign and created numerous factions in parliament, "Mammadov said.

He noted that opposition leaders such as Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Raffi Hovhannisyan, and Stepan Demirchyan could not come to an agreement and subsequently fractured the opposition electorate by presenting different lists. Thus at present, there is no charismatic opposition leader able to maintain public accord and harmonize actions with foreign sponsors.

The only force able to shatter the power of Serzh Sargsyan, is the political potential of the second President of Armenia, Robert Kocharian, the Prosperous Armenia party which is close to him and ARF Dashnaktsutyun, Mammadov said.

"Speaking with ambiguous statements about his participation in the elections, Robert Kocharian did not give a specific position. Kocharian has two influential political forces in Armenia, as well as a direct access to the Russian leadership," Mammadov said.

He said, during the summer and autumn of 2012, all of Serzh Sargsyan's efforts were directed towards the elimination of Prosperous Armenia.

"At the first stage, Prosperous Armenia was left out of the governing coalition causing it to lose several ministerial positions as well as representatives in local governments. A case was then filed against the second person in the party, Vardan Oskanian, who was close to Robert Kocharian. Meanwhile, pressure was put on the business of Gagig Tsarukyan through the Parliamentary Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan, "Mammadov said.

He said that Serzh Sargsyan did all he could to fight against the use of alternative force by foreign sponsors and blackmail intended to influence key issues in Armenia's foreign policy agenda.

"As it was stated in our previous reports, Armenia can not definitively resolve the question of joining the Eurasian and the Customs Union. At the same time, Armenia is negotiating with the EU for an allocation of a loan of $ 0.8 -1 billion, it is preparing for the summit of sponsors. This amount can only cover the 2012 budget deficit and a few minor projects. Due to absence of investment projects, the Armenian budget for 2013, has been named the "budget of struggle for existence" Mammadov said.

He went on to say that on the basis of these factors as well as others, it can be concluded that the next presidential elections in Armenia will be held in unopposed conditions. Due to fear and material need, the population will be forced to vote for Serzh Sargsyan. Although, for victory in the presidential election, Sargsyan resolved the tactical issues, he will face great challenges in the implementation of strategic objectives in the future.

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