ArmInfo’s Interview with Edward Sharmazanov, Vice-Speaker of the Armenian National Assembly, Spokesperson for the Republican Party of Armenia
by Tatevik Shahunyan
Mr. Vice-Speaker, how do you assess the domestic political situation created in Armenia?
The situation is ordinary – the opposition has been criticizing the authorities, but the latter have been trying to work normally. Finally, this is not the first spring that starts by the opposition rallies. So, everything is natural. But I think that this time the opposition made a false start, as they themselves understand very well that no serious political processes will happen in Armenia before the regular parliamentary election in 2017. The normal political strategy supposes participation of political forces in the elections and making changes by means elections. For instance, local government election are being held in Armenia at present. The RPA has gained a victory in the major part of cases. The Prosperous Armenian Party has gained victory in several regions and ARFD gained a victory only in one region. As for the Armenian National Congress, it has not taken part in the election at all. It speaks for itself.
So, you think that the domestic political situation in Armenia is calm and one should not wait for any extraordinary processes. What can you say about the activeness of the civilian sector because of the public dissatisfaction with the last steps of the government?
I think that in this context as well the situation has been developing naturally. Armenia is a democratic country and civilians have a right to express their viewpoint about any problem and choose any constitutional ways for doing that.
What will be the result of the cooperation of the four non-coalition parties (Armenian National Congress, Prosperous Armenia Party, ARFD and Heritage Party)?
If you remember, these four forces consolidate from time to time during the parliamentary elections and after them, but this consolidation has given no special result. I think that the agenda put forward by these political forces today is artificial. If there is a need to replace the government, the president together with the ruling majority will do that without waiting for the advice of the opposition. All over the world the government is appointed and dissolved by the leadership of the country.
At the latest rally of the opposition, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, the leader of the Armenian National Congress, the first President of Armenia, compared the leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party, businessman-parliamentarian Gagik Tsarukyan with the head of Georgian Dream Bidzina Ivanishvili. Do you consider that comparison to be relevant? Are there any local Ivanishvilis in the political field of Armenia?
I think Armenia has no Ivanishvili of its own.
How do you assess the factor of the second president of Armenia in the ongoing domestic political processes given Robert Kocharyan’s recent interviews and the fact that for the first time Head of Kocharyan’s Office Viktor Soghomonyan has not denied the second president’s possible return to the mainstream politics?
Our party has never held any debates on possible return of Robert Kocharyan to the mainstream politics. Our party continues its programs regardless of certain politicians’ plans.
Mr. Sharmazanov, according to the latest media reports, the draft constitutional reforms, which are currently being prepared, aim to ensure Serzh Sargsyan’s power retention after his second term of presidency, i.e. the document envisages the republic’s transition to a parliamentary government, where the Prime Minister will have the main power. According to the same media reports, Serzh Sargsyan is planning to become a Prime Minister after 2018. How would you comment on this?
I do not think it is tactful to assess the document, which is still being elaborated and has not been published yet.
Do you think the Customs Union will be accomplished without Ukraine?
The consequences of the current developments in Ukraine are unpredictable. Armenia only wants all the processes in that country to go on peacefully, without any radical display. As regards the Customs Union, I do not think that the structure will not be accomplished without Ukraine. I think that Armenia will become a Customs Union member in 2014.
Mr.Sharmazanov, many experts have recently started drawing parallels between the Crimea and Nagorno-Karabakh. They say that the possible self-determination of the peninsula through a referendum may become a precedent for Karabakh. What’s your opinion of that?
The grounds of Nagorno-Karabakh’s self-determination are very strong and one should not look for precedents in this context. As regards the Crimean referendum, it had precedents such as Abkhazia, Ossetia, and East Timor. In general, the principle of peoples’ right to self-determination tends to prevail today throughout the world. The ongoing processes in Europe are direct evidence of that. For the moment, Europe is experiencing two parallel processes of self-determination: Catalonia is trying to get separated from Spain and Scotland - from Great Britain. It says it all.