In his concluding speech during the discussion of the state budget for 2020 Prime Minister Pashinyan was tough in his response to criticism by Bright Armenia parliamentary group, actually accusing them of not wanting a rise in salaries and pensions. “You can say at once do not raise salaries, do not raise pensions,” Pashinyan announced.
This episode of budget discussion was happening against another episode in the domestic life of Armenia, the “initiation” of Vazgen Manukyan’s Vernatun Club, which unites the entire former ruling system with its different groups, positioning themselves as stiff opposition to Pashinyan.
From the political perspective, the situation is rather interesting. Vernatun practically blocks all the ways for positioning oneself as opposition to the Armenian government. This is at least the purpose followed by the groups that have gathered there.
Then they may go on to block each other’s way. This will happen, there is no doubt. However, now they are blocking the ways for other oppositions.
In this context, Nikol Pashinyan’s tough criticism to Bright Armenia Party resembles an ultimatum to orientation.
On the other hand, what else can Bright Armenia do? They missed the moment. Bright Armenia did not understand Serzh Sargsyan’s message on 17 April 2018 when his nomination for prime minister was discussed in parliament.
Go and bring your friend inside from the street, Serzh Sargsyan announced, addressing the members of parliament of Bright Armenia and Republic Party asking “sharp” questions to him. In other words, if Nikol Pashinyan is not here, your being here is meaningless, Serzh Sargsyan hinted. However, they did not trust him.
And now Nikol Pashinyan is asking what they are doing there. Apparently, he hints that maybe Bright Armenia’s chance is going to Vernatun. And, of course, not only their chance but also the chance for Prosperous Armenia. Vernatun is blocking their way. Not because it is forming a publicly acceptable agenda or necessity but appropriates the demand for opposition and, on the other hand, causes disgust in the notion of opposition altogether.
This is a highly complicated situation for the parliamentary opposition and for any other opposition because it requires offering the society a different but substantive agenda and process that must be up and beyond Vernatun, which means that power should not be the target or to go to Vernatun and defeat the competitor in its field.