Thursday, June 23, 2005

Revolution or Democratic Change?

EurasiaNet has an interesting article on the US position re. democratization in Armenia in the wake of "revolutions" in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan and President George Bush's recent visit to Tbilisi.

Opposition demonstration protesting the outcome of the 2003 Presidential Elections, Matenadaran, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia © Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia. A full gallery of images can be viewed online here

However, whereas many opposition activists saw Bush's calls for democracy to sweep through the region as a call to revolution, the US in fact favors peaceful democratic change through elections or at most, through citizens protecting their constitutional right to determine their own government in cases where the vote is obviously rigged.
The senior administration official indicated that recent statements made by President Bush should not be interpreted as a call for street protests, or other anti-government action that undermines stability in the region. "The [Armenian] opposition should not launch a dangerous revolution or seek to humiliate the [Kocharian] regime," the senior administration official said, adding that Washington now favors an "evolutionary process" of democratization.
Basically, the opposition had its chance in Armenia during 2003 but blew it. Now the issue is promoting real internal political and democratic development in time for the next elections scheduled for 2007 at the latest. The article can be read online here.

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