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The Upcoming Parliamentary Elections of NKR can Create a New Political Culture in the Country

"Armedia" Information, Analytical Agency presents an interview with an expert of   "Insight" Analytical Center for Applied Policy and Research, Greta Avetisyan.



-What is the importance of the Parliamentary elections for the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic?

- Elections, generally, are very important for any country, especially for those that seek to build democracy and be guided with democratic values. Elections are a tool for people to directly participate in the formation of government, which later on becomes the voice of the people. The role of the elections becomes even greater if we speak about internationally not recognized countries. For such states, especially, when the latter have been engaged in a conflict, elections become a means for stabilizing and democratizing the country, of course, if the elections are handled properly. As the UN says, "elections sit at the heart of democracy, making possible the act of self-determination envisaged in the Charter of the United Nations." For not recognized countries that have limited relations with the outer world and are deprived of many opportunities for development, elections become a means for organizing the life of the states, for forming individual countries political characteristics and for strengthening democracy.

This applies to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) as well. I should mention that during its 24 years of independence, though not being internationally recognized and always being in the situation of "no war, no peace," NKR was able to reach great achievements in its internal political life. It has become a country that builds its political life on democratic standards - high level of democracy; high level of civil liberties - even higher than that of the neighboring Azerbaijan (the Freedom House report for 2014 provides this data). All this speaks about the strong democracy in the country. Elections in NKR have become a means for the country to unite nation, to together build democracy and together face the external threats. This, of course, does not exclude competition during the elections. In the upcoming NKR elections to be held on May 3, there are 7 parties, which have different ideas – ranging from right to left. Thus I give a great importance to the elections in NKR, as it is one of the tools for democracy building, for showing the world that despite being not recognized, here people have full rights of voting and expressing their will and by doing this, increasing the legitimacy of the elected officials.

What are the expectations from the newly elected Parliament?

-  This is the first time that so many parties will be competing, which means that the diversity in the newly elected Parliament will be secured. It is surely quite important. But what I would like to emphasize concerning this elections is that for the first time in the history of NKR there will be a professional parliament. If previously only part of the MPs was included in the Permanent Commissions of the National Assembly and paid, then now all 33 MPs will work on permanent basis and their work will be limited with parliamentary activities. Besides, out of 33 MPs 22 will be elected with proportional and 11 with majoritarian system, instead of previous 17 and 16 respectively. This, I hope, will create a new political culture in NKR, make the work of the MPs more productive and effective. With the created opportunity for the MPs to fully concentrate their attention on their work in Parliament, they can activate the "parliamentary diplomacy" – the works of parliamentary friendship groups, also the "city diplomacy" – the relations between twin cities. The launch of the works of the newly elected National Assembly of NKR would be much successful, if it activates its relations with friendship groups and twin cities, organize exchange visits, gain a maximum use of the existing potential from these cooperations, as well as act as an initiator.

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