Guest post: Liana Enli Manusajyan – The Youth-Lead Velvet Revolution in Armenia – UPDATE

The month of April is always bringing change in Armenian history…

2018 seems to be not ordinary for Armenia. Everything started with a change in the Constitution, as the result of which Armenia became a parliamentarian republic, the Prime Minister got all power to rule the country.

After a new President was nominated, our ex-President, Serj Sargisyan, wanted to take again all power in his hands, by becoming Prime Minister, since he was not eligible to become President again (according to the Armenian Constitution, the same person can be elected as a President only two times). Serj Sargisyan had been a President of the country for ten years already. Thus, no legal grounds for him to become a President again. For this reason, he changed the Constitution, so that from now on the President will be nominated by the Parliament, rather than elected directly by people, and that all executive power is being transferred into the hands of the Prime Minister. According to him, politically, Armenia entered a new age.

After this Constitutional change, people, but especially the youth of Armenia, became worried about future of their country, because they saw many risks involved by these changes. The economic situation in Armenia was very difficult, and the country had a lot of debt, following the decisions made by the ex-president, Serj Sargisyan.


Nikol Pashinyan

Nikol Pashinyan, the opposition leader, was loved by people, who supported his constructive views about the necessary changes in the situation in Armenia. A few days before the election, Pashinyan started an informative march from the very far region of Gyumri, and aiming to visit as many cities as he can, arriving finally in Yerevan just the day before the moment the Parliament was supposed to choose the new Prime Minister.

This was the first march ever where the initiators were young people, who avoided any manifestation of violence. The day before the Parliament’s decision, the young people started closing all the main streets on Yerevan, waiting for their leader, Nikol Pashinyan, to reach the city.

 

The youth chose very original ways to close the streets. They just set on pavement, or performed national dances, or played volleyball. They did not do anything violent. Then, when their leader came to the main square, they followed him in a peaceful march all over the city. They visited every area of the city. Cars were following them everywhere. Walking on the streets in those moments, one could feel the power of the city… Smiling people were walking in the streets. Cars carrying national flag were honking. All over the city there was the noise of car signals and a move demanding the resignation of already newly nominated Prime Minister, the ever the same Serj Sargisyan.

The demonstration continued after that day. On 4th day of the demonstration, the Prime Minister elect, Serj Sargisyan, finally made a decision to leave his position without using any force. This was the first time in our history that a revolution has been made without any use of force.

Of course police tried to stop the march, even arresting some young people, but after four or five hours they have been set free, and they rejoined the demonstration. Each day after 7pm, the popular leader, Nikol Pashinyan, was speaking to in the Republic Square. There were gathered people who believed in a bright future for their country, 160.000-180.000 of the, which was a lot for a country with a population of only three million. This was the largest demonstration ever in Armenian history.

So now, since there is no Prime Minister in place, we are waiting for honest and legal selection of a Prime Minister, which will be held on 1st May. The Parliament members are frightened from the democratic demands of the youth. All parties in the Parliament refused to present their candidates, they even declared that they will support the candidate that the people have chosen, who is none other than their national leader, Nikol Pashinyan. On the morning of April 30th, the “Elq” alliance, which unites many opposition parties, supported by people, have declared that they will present to the Parliament the candidacy of Nikol Pashinyan as Prime Minister.

We are all very excited and full of hope that the day has come and that our country will have a bright future!

The Parliament session is on at the time when we publish this text. The future is still hanging in the balance. Please pray for Armenia!

UPDATE: The result of the first round of voting was 55 votes afainst and 47 votes for Pashinyan. A new round of voting will take plabe on May 8th. In the mean time, the Republican Party, who supported Sargysian, announced they will vote for Pashynian. Yet, the opposition is skeptical about their sincerity. The fight continues.

* * *

Liana Enli Manusajyan is a young Armenian lawyer, a civic activist and a Board member of World Vision Armenia

 

 

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Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

One thought on “Guest post: Liana Enli Manusajyan – The Youth-Lead Velvet Revolution in Armenia – UPDATE”

  1. Super! Tineri inteligenti in sec XXI. Din pacate, in America vedem tinerii universitari umblind dupa stafii. E intresant cum in tarile comuniste si foste comuniste chestia cu 2 termene pt presedinte n-a tinut. Democratia este in multe locuri o teorie. Tendinte dictatoriale le are oricine are putere dar America se protejeaza prin faptul ca alternativa la guvernare este inradacinata in popor. In acest fel, chiar fara motiv la alegerile partiale de la mijlocul presedintiei are loc schimbarea majoritatii camerei inferioare.

    Like

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