The fairly monotonous election campaign finally was given a jolt with a debate on live television. Artak Aleksanyan on ArmNews TV recently hosted Republican Party of Armenia candidate Samvel Farmanyan and Armenian National Congress candidate Vladimir Karapetyan, both of whom are competing for a parliamentary seat in the no. 2 electoral district under the majority system.
It was an impassioned debate with the candidates hurling accusations, questions and borderline insults at each other, speaking without giving the other a turn, and not following the rules of the game set by the host. All this, which is to be expected in the genre of live televised debates, was present.
At the end of the show, Artak Aleksanyan said he didn’t know whether the debate was interesting or not. It was. An election debate, in and of itself, is already interesting, but even more so when the guests are young, new generation politicians.
The host did as much as possible to maintain control of the broadcast and to be fair in moderating the debate. The result was as much as an attempt at hosting a program of this genre allows and of course, the debaters’ culture of running an election campaign in this format.
And it’s good that ArmNews makes it known that it’s open for election debates. What probably helps the broadcaster that chooses this genre the best is recognizing the candidate and seeing his face express sincerity, passion, anger, surprise. And from this perspective, the Farmanyan–Karapetyan election debate probably will remain unique. First, because there’s barely a week left till the end of the election campaign, and second, because it seems the 8 political parties and one party alliance participating in the election are unable to or don’t want to agree to participating in election debates.
The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.