In the Parliamentary Elections of the RA the “And-And” Policy Won
As a result of the Parliamentary elections held on April 2 in Armenia, four political forces will be represented in the newly elected Armenian parliament. If we consider the approaches of these parties and political blocs in relation to integration processes, then we can state that in the parliamentary elections the approach of combining the two integration vectors, or the so-called “and-and” policy has won.
It is clear that the results of the parliamentary elections are not conditioned solely by, first and foremost, the approaches of political forces to a particular foreign policy issue, since a number of objective and subjective factors influence the decision of citizens. However, the future foreign policy of the country is conditioned precisely by the political views of the political parties represented in the Parliament. In Armenia, this now becomes particularly relevant, given that the new parliament will act already in the conditions of the parliamentary system of governance. Hence, it is the political forces that will dictate the foreign policy course of the country.
So, at least three of the four political forces represented in the new parliament, the Republican Party of Armenia, “Tsarukyan Block” and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), attached great importance to the process of European and Eurasian integration in the pre-election period. The most eloquent is the pro-Western bloc, Yelk (“Exit”), which stressed in its election program that considers Armenia’s entry into the Eurasian Union to be erroneous, but at the same time the bloc did not demand withdrawal from the Union, unlike the “Free Democrats”, who won’t be represented in the new parliament.
The largest number of mandates in the Armenian parliament will have the Republican Party of Armenia and the “Tsarukyan Block”, respectively 58 and 31 each. In their electoral programs these two political forces stress the importance of combining the two integration processes, the development of the Armenian-Russian strategic relations and, in parallel, the dialogue with the EU.
In particular, the RPA is still in power, and it was during the rule of this party that Armenia joined the Eurasian Union, at the same time actively working with the European side and reaching the initialing of the new Armenia-EU framework agreement. The party’s election program notes the importance of deepening Armenia-Russia strategic relations and raising them to a new level. It is emphasized that “after joining the Eurasian Economic Union, Armenia has broader opportunities for economic development of the country, and in this sense we will support businessmen so that they can fully use the opportunities provided by the Union.” At the same time, the party attaches great importance to the development of relations with Europe, both at the Armenia-EU level, and at the bilateral level with individual EU countries. “Cooperation with the European Union is of key importance for the implementation of reforms in our country. We will continue to deepen our cooperation with the EU by completing the process of agreeing a new legal framework for our relations.” We will continue to develop relations with France, Germany, Greece, and other European countries, based on the same civilizational value system,” the program of the party stressed.
The second major force in the newly elected parliament will be the “Tsarukyan Bloc”, formed on the basis of the “Prosperous Armenia” party, which always attached importance to cooperation with both Russia and Europe. And now the program of the opposition bloc emphasizes the need to “deepen and develop Armenian-Russian partnership relations,” stressing also the importance of Armenia’s participation in the EAEU, the CIS and the CSTO. At the same time it is proposed to “continue constructive participation in the processes of European integration” and attach importance to the signing of a new Armenia-EU framework agreement.
The third force in the parliament will be the Armenian Revolutionary Party (Dashnaktsutyun), which is a traditional Social Democratic party promoting the idea of ”Hay Date” (edit.- the struggle for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide). Today the ARP is in a coalition with the RPA and considers Armenia’s membership to the EAEU to be a right decision. The pre-election program of the party does not give preference to either of the two integration vectors and notes that “Armenia must conduct an independent foreign policy based solely on national interests and the long-term strategic development of the state.” “We are not pro-American, either pro-Russian, or pro-European, we are pro-Armenian and Armenian-centric”.
And, finally, the fourth political force represented in parliament is the block “Yelk” (“Exit”), which demonstrates itself as the most pro-Western party. “Yelk” considers Armenia’s membership to the Eurasian Union a great mistake, underlining the risks connected with “Armenia’s sovereignty, security, economic and political natural development, fair solution of Artsakh problem (edit.- Karabakh conflict),” and attaches importance to managing these risks. At the same time, the bloc proposes to begin negotiations within the CSTO framework to “clarify the allied commitments to ensure each other’s security by the member countries.” The bloc also attaches importance to the formation of a deeper and more ambitious field for relations with the EU.
Summing up, it can be noted that two of the four political forces represented in the parliament clearly emphasize the importance of developing cooperation with both the Eurasian Union and the European Union. One of the other two forces also supports the “and-and” policy, since at the moment it is the best one in terms of the interests of Armenia. And the block “Yelk”, most probably, will adhere to the critical position in relation to the processes of Eurasian integration, pointing out the shortcomings in these relations and demanding to take steps to overcome them, which, in turn, can contribute to the improvement of the process.
Thus, it can be expected that the policy of “and-and” adopted by Armenia in the issue of integration processes will not change, and Armenia will consistently continue the steps to develop Armenia-Russia bilateral relations, increase the effectiveness of Armenia’s participation in the EAEU and CSTO, and at the same time develop the Armenia-EU relations on the basis of a new framework agreement, which will be signed in the near future.