Heritage party leader Raffi Hovannisian challenging the official presidential results continues his BAREVolution, this time visiting Armavir, Ararat, Vayots Dzor and Syunik provinces of Armenia and meeting with his supporters.
In Echmiadzin, Armavir province, Hovannisian said in his address to the people who had come to hear what he had to say: “Even by official data Echmiadzin has won; it has overcome its fear, its slavery, its estrangement. And we are saying that we are moving towards a revolution. This is our province, our town, and nobody will take away, steal our country, our right, our Constitution. I am humbled by your trust.”
Periodically addressing the police officers watching the rally, Hovannisian was calling upon the citizens to not be afraid, but rather respect the police because “they are with the people and will protect the people’s interests”.
Echmiadzin resident Armen Mkrtchyan told Hovannisian that no matter how scared and threatened they are by the authorities, they are equally tired of it and will definitely go for a revolution, standing up for the votes they had given to Hovannisian.
Walking in the streets of Armavir, greeting people, the Heritage leader was promising that he would take his victory till the end and was urging the residents to move only forward without “reverse speed”, because this is a struggle for the national flag and for their children. Reflecting on Armavir mayor Ruben Khlghatyan’s resignation, he said that by his step the mayor showed “at least minimum manliness” and advised all the other governors and mayors who participated in rigging the election to follow Khlghatyan’s example.
In almost all the towns he visited, Hovannisian in his speeches urged the world superpowers: “I demand starting from my birthplace the United States of America to Russia, an important strategic partner, from Europe to China to recognize and respect the Armenian people’s victory. I would recommend to the international community to reconsider the congratulations endorsing Serzh Sargsyan as a winner and their decision to accept the election results.”
In Ararat province’s Masis, Ararat and Artashat the Heritage leader said he had simply come to say “Barev” (hello) and that this one word holds the sun in it (arev means sun), and manliness, and confidence, and an Armenian’s sense of belonging to his/her land.
In Artashat he stated that “the most disgraceful” ballot-stuffing and other types of election fraud were the case in Ararat province, more than in any other part of Armenia.
“It doesn’t matter who committed the violation; whether his name is Hovannisian, or Abrahamyan, he will be held accountable. Hovik, Johnik, police chief, governor, mayor – each one of them will be brought to account,” he said, his reference being to parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamyan, native of Ararat province.
In Armenia’s southern Vayots Dzor province Hovannisian’s first stop was Areni village (known for its wineries and viniculture since ancient times), where the majority of residents had extended their support and voted for him. Nonetheless, not many people were present at the rally.
“Many would like to come, but they’ve been threatened that if they come, they’ll lose their jobs. However, we have proved with our votes that we are with Raffi; we only hope he doesn’t disappoint us,” said villager Serob Davtyan.
In Yeghegnadzor people greeted the official runner up with posters “Raffi is the only president”. Addressing Serzh Sargsyan, Hovannisian said that if he [Sargsyan] has anything to say to him, he will be waiting until March 2.
“Twenty one years ago our nation shifted the course of history, and I will not let anyone edit that history. The Armenia of names is in the past, there is only people’s Armenia left now,” he said.
In Vayq Hovannisian did not hold a rally, he had time enough to take a walk and visit some shopping stalls, greet people and have a little talk. From Vayq he went to Armenia’s southern gate Agarak. Today his meetings will continue in the towns of Syunik province.
Hovannisian has repeatedly stated that the victory will enter Yerevan from the provinces; but does it mean that the authorities might make concessions and offer some governor and mayoral posts to Heritage members?
So far Shirak governor and mayors of Vanadzor, Lori province’s administrative center, and Armarir have resigned.
Political analyst Yervand Bozoyan says these resignations are conditioned by the fact that the authorities are unhappy with these people who “failed to commit sufficient election fraud” in the constituencies they were in charge of.
“By punishing them they want to show others, and make the other governors and mayors to more enthusiastically and actively rig the next elections. I think it’s highly unlikely that the authorities might go for a compromise and willingly offer these posts to Heritage. During the Hovannisian-Sargsyan meeting the president said No to all the key points. So, I say, no way, it is impossible” says Bozoyan.