Following huge public demonstrations (more than 200,000 participants) for over a week in Armenia, Yerevan and various cities, against the nomination of Serzh Sargsyan as Prime Minister, the situation subsided and close to 400,000 marched for Victory, because Serzh Sargsyan resigned on April 23, 2018 and left the country, according to reports.
Opposition and demonstration leader, Member of Armenia’s Parliament Nikol Pashinyan, spearheaded the movement. with his determination and planning, Pashinyan was able to meet with the leaders of the country — President Armen Sarkissian went to the demonstration and met Pashinyan. Later on, PM Sargsyan wanted to meet with Pashinyan to find a solution to the quagmire in Armenia. Pashinyan said to the Prime Minister that his resignation is the only item on the agenda and eventually it was realized. Sargsyan resignation was a thoughtful, wise, and a practical decision and it appeared that it was the only way to save the country from disaster and the only way to bring calm and hopefully normalcy in the coming months.
Armenia needs a lot of reforms, mainly, the objective enforcement of the laws.
It will take some time to really establish democracy in Armenia, and unfortunately the country had been in an autocratic situation — and the only way to succeed for an individual was to have connections. Of course bribery is also a major road for success. The oligarchs control the country in a way and the average person has been suffering for years for lack of employment, services, very low retirement payments and so on.
The most important issue in Armenia, in my opinion, is the lack of justice. Although the laws are written but justice is not enforced equally for all. I can enumerate personal cases which had happened to me, particularly as a Diasporan Armenian. Similarly, an American Armenian who has dual citizenship (American and Armenian) is jailed and his lawyer was not given permission to enter the court to defend his client.
Following the demonstrations, people stood up against the ruling Republican Party, expressing their discontent for ruling the country according to their wishes.
It is not easy to speculate as to what will happen in the near future, whether the government will give in or continue in the same manner, despite the fact that many international organizations and countries, including the U.S continuously pointed out that Armenia needs to be more democratic and treat every citizen equally. There is a meeting between the Prime Minister and Nikol Pashinyan and we hope that the suggestions to improve the country and its system of governing will not be out of line and unrealizable, otherwise no changes will take place for along time. We need concessions on both sides and that is the only solution in this important and historic times.
Will there be change? I am sure there will be, but it will take some time, and hope people will have patience to wait, and not demand reforms overnight.