Armenia: Officials, Opposition Take Tentative Steps Toward Conciliation: March 13, 2008
Under intense outside pressure to enter into a political dialogue, government officials and their opponents in Armenia have started making cautious moves to repair the damage done by the March 1 violence in Yerevan.
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Armenia: A Political World Turned Upside Down: March 11, 2008
In 1995, Ashot Manukian was a candidate in Armenia’s parliamentary elections, and one of his campaign brochures contained a ringing endorsement from Robert Kocharian, the incumbent president and one-time leader of Nagorno-Karabakh. “If Ashot Manukian is elected to the National Assembly, we will be proud to call him one of our finest,” Kocharian proclaimed.
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Armenia: Authorities Advance Conspiracy Theory: March 7, 2008
Armenian leaders are now casting the March 1 bloodshed in Yerevan as the product of an international conspiracy that sought the revolutionary overthrow of the existing political order.
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Armenia: Criticism of Kocharian Administration Bubbles to Surface: March 6, 2008
The shockwaves created by the March 1 events in Yerevan are being felt beyond Armenia’s borders, heightening concern about a regional war. Meanwhile, criticism of President Robert Kocharian’s handling of the crisis is starting to surface.
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Armenia: The United States is Muted on the Armenian Political Crisis: March 5, 2008
The continuing political crisis Armenia stemming from the March 1 violence in Yerevan has unfolded with little comment from the United States, either from the US government or from influential Armenian-American lobbying groups.
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Armenia: Top Challenge Now is Repairing the Rift: March 4, 2008
During a memorial service for victims of the March 1 events, Karekin II, the spiritual leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, touched upon the dilemma that now confronts Armenia: Stability in the country may come at the cost of much-needed unity.
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Armenia: Is a Government Cover-Up In Progress?: March 3, 2008
In the center of the Armenian capital Yerevan, the debris left by the March 1 violent clash between opposition protesters and security forces is being carted away. Outside of the country, meanwhile, political analysts and human rights activists are wondering whether Robert Kocharian’s administration is also striving to cleanse the narrative of the March 1 events. With the government controlling all channels of information, it is difficult to determine the extent of the brutality. However, the initial impression of some observers is that state security forces used excessive force.
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Armenia: Uneasy Quiet Settles over Yerevan, Residents in Shock over Use of Force by Kocharian Administration: March 2, 2008
Troops on March 2 began enforcing a state of emergency in the Armenian capital Yerevan, where the streets and squares in the center city were largely deserted of people, yet still strewn with the detritus of the previous day’s violent confrontation. At least eight people died in the melee involving security forces and opposition protesters.
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Armenia: At Least 2 Dead in Yerevan Violence, as Kocharian Declares State of Emergency: March 1, 2008
After riot police failed to disperse an anti-government rally in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, President Robert Kocharian resorted to declaring a state of emergency. The president issued declaration as security forces and supporters of presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrosian waged running street battles that involved shots fired and Molotov cocktails tossed. Military armored personnel carriers were also seen taking up positions in the capital.
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OSCE's Human Rights Office Finds Itself in Crossfire over Election Monitoring: February 27, 2008
A controversial election-monitoring mission in Armenia has plunged the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights into a full-blown credibility crisis. Already under attack from member states that are hostile to ODIHR’s democratization mandate, the Warsaw-based office is now facing harsh criticism from civil society advocates.
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Armenia: Dueling Protests Occur in Yerevan, as President Calls on Opponents to Sober-Up: February 26, 2008
Yerevan was the scene of competing rallies on February 26. A protest mounted by supporters of opposition presidential hopeful Levon Ter-Petrosian extended into its seventh day, while, only a kilometer away, Serzh Sarkisian, the man declared the winner of the controversial February 19 presidential election, mustered his loyalists in an attempt to promote the legitimacy of the balloting results. The visiting chief of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe could only describe the situation as “complicated.”
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Arrests of Ter-Petrosian Supporters Continue: February 25, 2008
Post-election political tensions are simmering in Armenia with the arrest of several political figures and government officials who have declared their support for former President Levon Ter-Petrosian. The government has presented the arrests as part of an attempt to crack down on an armed uprising.
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Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Resigns, Defections to Ter-Petrosian Continue: February 22, 2008
In a surprise move, Deputy Parliamentary Speaker and presidential candidate Vahan Hovhannisian has resigned from office out of frustration with alleged election violations in Armenia’s recent presidential elections. In a separate development, Armenia’s deputy prosecutor general and seven parliamentarians have joined the protest movement led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian to contest the results of the February 19 presidential vote.
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Ter-Petrosian Claims Military Support; Permanent Protests Begin: February 21, 2008
As thousands of protestors gathered in Yerevan on February 21 for a second day of demonstrations against Armenia’s presidential election results, lead opposition candidate and former President Levon Ter-Petrosian declared that two key senior military officials have opted to support his movement. The government and the ruling Republican Party of Armenia have denied the claim.
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Armenia: Administration Candidate Claims Outright Presidential Victory, Opposition Supporters Won’t Admit Defeat: February 20, 2008
While retiring President Robert Kocharian was extending his congratulations to Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian on his presidential election victory, while at the same time hailing the vote as "free and fair, thousands of Armenians attended a protest rally in central Yerevan, decrying the results as fraudulent.
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International Observers: Armenia’s Vote Passes the Mark: February 20, 2008
Despite widespread opposition and domestic observer claims of violence and intimidation, an international observation team has deemed Armenia’s February 19 presidential vote a step forward in the country’s start-and-stop process toward Western-style democracy.
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Armenia's Presidential Vote Remains a Cliffhanger: February 19, 2008
After months of accusations and counter-accusations between the campaigns of Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian and former president Levon Ter-Petrosian, voters went to the polls February 19 to decide who will become Armenia’s next president. In a region where election outcomes have often been clear well in advance, Armenia’s presidential vote is shaping up as a cliffhanger, with preliminary official results not expected to be released until February 20.
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On Election Day, Turkey Outweighs Politics in Border Village: February 19, 2008
Not far from Armenia’s borders with Turkey and Georgia, at an age-old trading crossroads, lies the village of Shirakavan. The political excitement connected to the country’s February 19 presidential vote commands little attention here. Rather, the focus is on the day-to-day struggle to survive and how, if possible, Armenia’s relations with Turkey could play a role.
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Sarkisian Campaign: Looking for "a Good Harvest": February 18, 2008
Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian ended his campaign on February 17 with a vast rally in downtown Yerevan that affirmed the advantages of the status quo and cast main rival Levon Ter-Petrosian as a risky agent for destabilization.
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No Rock the Vote for Armenian Youth: February 18, 2008
With music blaring from a large speaker system and a palpable excitement in the air, the final Yerevan rally of presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrosian almost had the feel of a rock concert. But despite the high energy, a closer look at the crowd revealed that, in terms of demographics, elderly matrons in fur coats easily outnumbered younger voters.
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Sizing Up the "Russian Card" in Armenia's Presidential Vote: February 18, 2008
Debates about corruption and Nagorno Karabakh may be running strong in Armenia's 2008 presidential campaign, but on the topic of Russia, the country's strongest military ally and economic partner, the candidates stand largely united. Both Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian and former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, slotted as the opposition frontrunner, have tried to use the "Russian card" in their campaigns. Moscow, meanwhile, is keeping its preferences to itself.
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In Armenian Border Villages, Poverty Outweighs Politics: February 17, 2008
Improving living standards for ordinary Armenians and creating jobs may have been issues that featured prominently in the 2008 presidential campaign, but in two remote villages near Azerbaijan, the candidates' promises fall flat.
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As Campaign Ends, Ter-Petrosian Claims Victory: February 17, 2008
As thousands of supporters yelled "Victory!," former President Levon Ter-Petrosian wrapped up his election campaign on February 16 with a massive rally in downtown Yerevan that was rich with parting jibes at the current government, yet indicative of ongoing divisions within the opposition itself.
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In Armenian Politics, Candidates' Wives Stay Behind the Scenes: February 15, 2008
Former US President Bill Clinton may have presented his wife and current presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton to voters as a "two-for-one" deal, but in Armenia, election campaigns and candidates’ wives decidedly do not mix.
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Armenia: Governing Party Members, Dashnaks Defect to Ter-Petrosian’s Campaign: February 14, 2008
With just three full days of campaigning left, the battle lines are deepening in Armenia’s presidential race, as two members of the governing Republican Party of Armenia, one member of the party’s parliamentary faction, and five members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation have voiced support for former President Levon Ter-Petrosian.
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The Armenian Revolutionary Federation: An “Alternative” to Politics as Usual?: February 13, 2008
In a metaphysical tangle of politics, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation is part of Armenia’s current government while claiming to be running a presidential campaign in opposition to it. Some analysts say voters may not see the distinction.
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Armenia’s Presidential Election: The View from Baku: February 12, 2008
In Azerbaijan, official or public interest in Armenia's upcoming presidential election is minimal. Few in Baku see the impending political transition in Yerevan as having much of an impact on efforts to break the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations stalemate.
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Armenia: Opposition Coalition Fails to Materialize: February 11, 2008
Former president Levon Ter-Petrosian and rival candidate Artur Baghdasarian have missed a deadline to combine campaigns, apparently denying the opposition any realistic hope of mounting a serious challenge for power in Armenia’s February 19 presidential election.
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Armenia: Ter-Petrosian Files Suit That Could Postpone Presidential Election: February 08, 2008
Amid assurances from President Robert Kocharian that Armenia’s upcoming presidential poll will meet international standards, leading opposition candidate Levon Ter-Petrosian, alleging unfair campaign conditions, has filed a complaint that could lead to a postponement of the February 19 election.
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Armenia: Little Noticed Judicial Reforms Could Have Role in Election: February 08, 2008
Recent judicial reforms in Armenia could influence the conduct of the country’s February 19 presidential election. New legislation, which went into force at the start of 2008, has established three specialized courts to try civil, criminal and administrative cases. They will exist in parallel with so-called "general jurisdiction courts."
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Armenia: Opposition Candidates Consider Joining Forces: February 05, 2008
Two weeks before Armenia’s presidential vote, two key opposition candidates and a prominent opposition party leader are in talks about a possible merger. If a unified candidate emerges from those discussions, Armenia’s February 19 election could prove uncharacteristically competitive.
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Armenia: Measures to Promote Free-and-Fair Presidential Vote Face Scrutiny: January 29, 2008
With Armenia’s presidential election less than a month away, attention is focusing on measures taken by the government to promote a free-and-fair vote. Critics are quick to cite shortcomings in official anti-fraud efforts, and some go so far as to accuse the government of plotting to stuff ballot boxes. Officials are downplaying the opposition criticism and accusations, with one calling them the byproduct of an "ardent imagination."
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