“Discussion: The Armenians Voted “with Belly and not Heart” during the Parliamentary Elections”
06.04.2017
12:00
Experts believe that the Republican Party has won the parliamentary elections of April 2 not due to election fraud or ballot stuffing but mostly through the use of administrative resources and bribery.

It is not only about the direct distribution of money in cash, but also to solve their everyday problems on the spot. Voters generally not trusting political parties’ promises or programs made a rational choice in their opinion. They chose bribe in a struggle between promises and various programs. 

“By and large, it was already clear during the election campaign that the ruling party's resources are sufficient to collect more than 40 percent of the vote. It was also clear that the “Tsarukyan Alliance” will be in the second place. Oppositional “Yelq” Alliance was working very well and it was clear that a good result will be achieved as well, it was clear that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation should be in the next parliament. But the main lesson to be learned from these elections is that the trend to vote with belly is favored to the trend of voting with the heart. It was an early start in Armenia but it became more evident in these elections,” Alexander Iskandaryan, Director of the Caucasus Institute, Political Scientist, said.  

Alexander Iskandaryan, Armen Baghdasaryan, political scientist, Samvel Manukyan, Sociologist, attended a discussion entitled “Sum-up of Parliamentary Elections: Pre-Election Expectations and Post-Election Accomplishments” on April 6 at Media Center.

Samvel Manukyan presented the underlying causes of people’s behavior according to which about 80 percent of people think that politicians care more about their party leader than the society. “The same people believe that the government is more concerned about the rich than the society and the development of Armenia is hindered because of the very rich people. This means that 80% of the population feels alienated from the state. That is, people, turn their backs on the state and the political system,” he said, adding that people do not believe in pre-election promises as they are not fulfilled.

“It is, therefore, essential for them to know what the political parties or candidates do now. People see very well that the political parties are engaged in a political trade. Is it only their prerogative? That is why to say that people were sold out, etc. is not true. They made a rational choice from their perspective; they were involved in a trade. They sold what can be sold and the price at what price it can be sold,” the sociologist said, adding that he did not forecast any change in the way of thinking and attitudes within next 5-6 years.

At the same time, the speakers highlighted the fact that it is for the first time that there are no post-election developments in Armenia in the form of massive protests. “This time there are no post-election developments following the elections on April 2, the society is well aware that the post-election developments end up with nothing,” Iskandaryan said, adding that such developments happened before as people thought that they were cheated or their voice was stolen from them.

“Now there is no such feeling. That is why they do not give a mandate to the political parties to hold post-election rallies. The political forces do not initiate such activities as they are afraid that very few people will come out to the streets first, and besides it will end up with nothing,” Iskandaryan said.

Armen Baghdasaryana agreed with him that electoral processes took place previously because votes of the political parties were being stolen. "Now they are not stolen but bought. There was an agreement between the government and the public. Against whom should the political forces protest? Against society?,” he asked, adding that the main opposition force, “Exit” (Yelq) Alliance, which has experienced political figures, does not initiate such actions as they can outwear their electoral capital through the post-election process. “They have chosen to expand their electorate by the next elections and did the right thing,” he said.

To watch the video, follow the link.  

Arshaluys Mghdesyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to arshaluismghdesyan@pjc.am.

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