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High-Level Personnel Changes Plan Conceived After 2008 Presidential Election, Says Analyst

The changes in Armenia’s leadership are not random, as many local media and analysts have confirmed. There is a big plan of changes among the elite, which was conceived immediately after the 2008 presidential election and was launched a year ago, Director of the Yerevan-based Caucasus Institute Alexander Iskandaryan told reporters today, describing the developments as a process of distancing the oligarchy from power.

At the same time, Iskandaryan stressed that this is not part of the election campaign, but on the contrary: preparations for the May 2012 parliamentary elections are part of this process.

“It is an attempt to remove the oligarchs from making policies. The complexity of the process lies in the fact that in this case, those in power are not fighting with the opposition but with themselves, since those economic interest groups are within it, within the ruling party,” he said.

The political analyst recalled how a year ago, when, for example, the Minister of Justice was being replaced, he couldn’t talk about serious changes, but after the recent resignation of the parliamentary speaker, the country’s second most influential position, the process became evident. “I’m not saying that the process is complete or that it will succeed. We are in this process, and it is the most important thing happening in Armenia today.”

Asked how resolute the country’s leader is in the given situation, Iskandaryan said: “I don’t have personal conversations with the president. I make judgments based on publications and public appearances. Such revolutionary changes can’t take place without the president’s agreement — they come out of the presidential apparatus. Only he could initiate this process. We are neither Switzerland nor the Netherlands, but at the same time, we’re neither Turkmenistan nor Azerbaijan nor Russia where serious issues are resolved with the stroke of a pen. So it’s a political struggle. And that which is happening is a struggle because the people who go do not always agree with these decisions.”

As for the role of the opposition — namely, the Armenian National Congress — in this process, according to the analyst, this depends on the results of its participation in the parliamentary elections.