Sunday, 15 December

MP Anahit Bakhshyan Answers Reader Questions

(Anahit Bakhshyan is the Heritage Party MP who won’t be going back to parliament due to her defeat at the polls on May 6.)

Mrs. Bakhshyan, you were a leading figure in the Heritage Party parliamentary faction, but didn’t warrant a top spot on the party’s proportional ticket. Did you regard this as a slap in the face?

Based on the election results, I’d say it was a slap in the face from the electorate and not the party.

In the election, your opponents, Lyova Khachatryan and Robert Masoumyan, stole many votes from you due to election bribes. This is borne out by the strange way the ballots were folded. It’s interesting to know how Khachatryan, the alleged winner, looks into your eyes. I mean, didn’t he give his word that he wouldn’t distribute bribes?

Well, he looked right at me when I was invited to his celebration party. At the party I told him, “Dear Lyova, how is it that the people praise me as an MP, but they vote for you?”

Are you pleased with the Heritage-Free Democrats alliance that essentially decreased the number of Heritage seats in the parliament? Would you say this was a preconceived scheme hatched in the presidential palace?

I believe that Heritage failed to garner the votes of the electorate we were pinning our hopes on. This is especially true of Yerevan where in 2007 we registered a large number of votes in our favour. In the 29 day campaign, we failed to get our message out to the voters regarding our future activities and how we would guarantee the success of their implementation.

Why is it that our political opposition has yet to grasp that there can be no regime change via lawful means and that the regime will not surrender that which it has pillaged? Would you agree that the country can be saved from these leeches only by widespread civil disobedience?

Maybe you are correct but I do not support your proposed method. Rather than get disillusioned, I am in favour of regime change through lawful means or at least to put a straight-jacket on the regime, something that would have been possible had Heritage won 12-15 seats in the parliament. It would even be possible with 5 seats, as long as the opposition cooperates correctly.

Your party has been very engaged in environmental issues. Do you believe that people will be appointed to posts in the government by paying money?

Heritage will continue to raise environmental matters and demand solutions.  I will answer your second question with a question of my own – what has changed? Election bribes reached astronomic proportions and the new officials will of course be no different.

Do you believe that the new parliament will work more effectively? Will there be process that will experience reversals? Which of these would you consider as dead-ends?

The recent May 6 parliamentary elections were a complete setback. Just look at the numbers. As of 2009, there were 20 opposition MPs. The new legislature will start out with only 15. This won’t be enough to halt any bills pushed through by the ruling majority. Even 20 opposition MPs wouldn’t make a difference in the voting. However, the more MPs debate questionable bills and revise them, the greater the effectiveness of the legislature’s work. In this regard, we can also register a set-back.

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