Possible candidates for the presidency of Artsakh և Expected developments

Possible candidates for the presidency of Artsakh և Expected developments


After the end of the 44-day war, the internal political processes in Artsakh were pushed to the background. Some political activity in the post-war period, which was conditioned by the catastrophic results of the war, gradually faded in 2021. Over the past year, the primary task of the Artsakh society has been to overcome the severe socio-economic consequences of the war.

However, in addition to overcoming difficult social problems, the ability to find viable solutions to the internal political challenges posed by the war will be of paramount importance to Artsakh in the coming years. The future subjectivity and Armenianness of Artsakh will largely depend on the overcoming of these internal political challenges.

In the near future, the most important of Artsakh’s internal political problems will be the restoration of uninterrupted mechanisms of change of power, which were endangered as a result of the 44-day war. Regular presidential elections are to be held in Artsakh in 2025. The date of the presidential elections will coincide with the period mentioned in the statement of November 9-10, 2020, when the issue of extending the presence of the Russian peacekeeping mission in Artsakh will be decided. In this regard, there is a danger that in negotiations with Russia, Azerbaijan may demand the cancellation of the NKR presidential election in exchange for agreeing to extend the peacekeeping mission.

To neutralize this threat, the Artsakh authorities and the political class will probably take a number of steps in the legislative field, which will create guarantees for the formation of a new government in Artsakh. It is expected that these steps will include the separation of parliamentary and presidential elections. As a result of the constitutional amendments made in 2017, the parliamentary and presidential elections in Artsakh are held on the same day. As a result of the repeal of this provision of the Constitution, in all probability, special parliamentary elections will be held before the 2025 presidential elections, and a new National Assembly will be formed.

Most likely, special parliamentary elections will be held in Artsakh before the 2025 presidential elections; a new National Assembly will be formed

This circumstance will significantly intensify the internal political life in Artsakh. By and large, the results of the snap parliamentary elections may predetermine who will be the next president of Artsakh. That is why the politicians and forces aspiring for the presidency are already preparing to fight.

Incumbent Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan has stated several times since the end of the 44-day war that he will not run in the next presidential election and will leave politics after it takes place. Harutyunyan first spoke about it in his December 16, 2020 message. He particularly mentioned ․

“At the same time, realizing the certain public and political moods caused by the war regarding the need for my resignation from the post of President of the Republic, I would like to note that I am ready to resign at the first opportunity, when the Republic is ready to properly and dignifiedly overcome the presidential situation. and the severe difficulties of the parliamentary elections.
“At the first opportunity, I will resign from the presidency. Extraordinary national elections will be held in Artsakh within a reasonable period of time, during which I will not run. I will leave politics.”

Arayik Harutyunyan also repeated his promise during the June 23, 2021 rally in Stepanakert’s Renaissance Square. Harutyunyan will most likely focus on winning the snap parliamentary elections, trying to choose a preferred successor.

NKR Minister of Internal Affairs is mentioned in the talks about Arayik Harutyunyan’s potential successors Karen Sargsyan name: Sargsyan is the son of Grigory Sarkisyan, the former head of the bodyguard of the second president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan. Representatives of Arayik Harutyunyan’s business team are especially in favor of his candidacy. However, a decision on Sargsyan’s candidacy has probably not been made yet, there is a high probability that Harutyunyan will eventually settle on another figure.

One of the unexpected candidates for the post of Artsakh President is the third NKR President Bako Sahakyan said: In recent months, Sahakyan has been active, especially in Moscow, where he is trying to convince decision-makers that he is a more preferred candidate for the presidency of Artsakh than Harutyunyan. According to reliable sources, Sahakyan uses the services of well-known Russian politician and analyst Modest Kolerov to achieve his goal.

Kolerov is the editor-in-chief of Regnum news agency. During Sahakyan’s presidency he was a frequent guest in Stepanakert and was always received at the highest level.

December 2, 2021 in Moscow created The Center for the Study of Nagorno-Karabakh at the Regnum Agency, headed by Modest Kolerov. Among other issues, the center will lobby for Bako Sahakyan in Moscow.

It should be noted that Kolerov held a serious position in Moscow in the mid-2000s. Founded in 2005, he was the first head of the Department of Interregional and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries of the Office of the President of the Russian Federation. In recent years, however, Kolerov has had little weight or influence in Russia over the decision-making process in Armenia and Artsakh.

The other potential candidate for the presidency of Artsakh is the Secretary of the NKR Security Council Vitaly Balasanyan is: Balasanyan became significantly more active after the end of the 44-day war. During the first months after the war, Balasanyan often made statements and gave interviews to the Armenian and Artsakh media.

At that time, Balasanyan did not hide his political ambitions. Balasanyan’s post-war activism, as well as Arayik Harutyunyan’s statement that decisions on security issues will be made within the Security Council, created a misconception in some circles in Yerevan that power in Artsakh’s de facto belongs to Balasanyan. However, Vitaly Balasanyan’s activity has gradually diminished in matters unrelated to his area of ​​responsibility. Balasanyan, of course, continues to run for the post of Artsakh leader, but his position is weaker than in the post-war period. If Bako Sahakyan enters the game, he will also lose the support of the majority of Artsakh’s former power elite.

He is among the candidates for the next leader of Artsakh Samvel Babayan: In his interviews, Babayan emphasizes that he is ready to take responsibility either in the leadership of the RA Armed Forces or in Artsakh. However, in the event of a by-election or snap election, Babayan may again face an obstacle to his registration. Babayan participated in the 2021 special parliamentary elections in Armenia. In other words, at least during the election campaign, he already had an Armenian registration. Babayan will probably try to solve this problem again by making changes in the constitution of Artsakh.

Thus, the internal political processes in Artsakh will become quite active in the near future. At this stage, the main goal for Artsakh should be the smooth conduct of new presidential elections. In the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, it is extremely important that the leader of Artsakh has a primary mandate given to him by the people of Artsakh.



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