Dashnaktsutyun Observes Genocide Vigil

As hundreds of Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF-Dashnaktsutyun) supporters start the traditional procession with lanterns in the center of Yerevan to observe vigil the evening before official Genocide rememberence day, the question remains – will the party opt out of the ruling coalition over Armenian – Turkish – Swiss announcement on normalisation of relations released April 22nd? Continue reading “Dashnaktsutyun Observes Genocide Vigil”

Big challanges to be faced by the new coalition government

Five out of seventeen ministerial posts have already been appointed, only two of which are new faces:   Foreign minister Eduard Nalbandian, former ambassador to France, and Defense minister Seyran Ohanian, the former head of armed forces. Three ministers retained the positions they held in the outgoing government. Gevorg Danielian (Republican Party) will stay on as justice minister, while Armen Grigorian (Prosperous Armenia) will continue as minister of sport and youth affairs and David Lokian (Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutiun) as agriculture minister. Interestingly, as this ArmeniaNow analyses points out, despite the landslide victory achieved by the Republicans in 2007 parliamentary elections, the government formed after the elections was a coalition one.
When the non-partisan head of Central Bank Tigran Sargsyan was appointed Premier, after Serzh Sargsyan’s 53% victory, disputed as it may be, it seemed for a moment, that leaning on heavy Republican majority in Parliament and control over the executive branch, Serzh Sargsyan might attempt to form a merit based, professional government. Still, the developments are indicating the opposite. So far the weight of coalition is prevailing, and it seems more coalition appointments are to be expected.
While this is not necessarily a bad thing, I find it strange, that four political forces, with distincltly different political agendas are working in a coalition government. Moreover, with Republicans being strong enough to rule on their own, it is clear, that their political line will be dictating everything, so it looks, as though Bargavach Hayastan, ARF-Dashnaktsutyun and Orinats Yerkir party won’t be able to push any of their appraches through, and have joined the government only to retain some administrative levers and ensure better life for some of their top party officials.
Meanwhile, the new government faces the challanges of strengthening its legitimacy in Armenia and restoring country’s image in the international community. “The Monitoring Commission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution on April 17 urging the Armenian authorities to implement a number of reforms aimed at improving the situation in the country. PACE suggests launching an independent inquiry into the clashes, releasing all prisoners who did not commit crimes, amending the law on public rallies, and engaging in a dialogue with the opposition. PACE warns that, unless those conditions are met, it will consider suspending the voting rights of Armenia during its next session, which takes place in June.” (April 17, 2008 | RFE/RL)
The expected sharp rise of prices following the rise of natural gas price doesn’t help much with raising the government’s profile. Instead, it gives the opposition more facts to build their struggle – which has been generally a destructive one so far. Seems like the internal situation will remain tense over the next month or two, possibly with the influence of opposition gradually declining, although – if the government keeps the policies observed over the past week – price-rises, which should have been avoided at all costs in this tentative and tense political period, we might just as well see the opposite.
No changes are expected in the foreign policy sphere either. “In his first major foreign-policy speech on April 16, Armenia’s president was uncompromising. “Azerbaijan must understand the simple reality that the existence of the republic of Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence is irreversible,”Sarkisian said. “The people of Nagorno-Karabakh have won their right to a free and independent life. And through our efforts, that right must be recognized by the international community.” (April 17, 2008 | RFE/RL)
For all the optimists out there – gather as much of it as you can, ‘couse looks like you will badly need it.

Vahan Hovhannisyan Has Resigned

Vahan Tavoush 570
Vahan Hovhannisyan, ARF-Dashnaktsutyun Candidate © Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia 2008
ARF-Dashnaktsutyun candidate for the post of Armenian president, having gathered 6% of the votes in the Presidential elections marred by violence, electoral fraud and irregularities in the ballot counting process which might well have resulted in a serious decrease of the actual number of the candidate’s votes, has announced about his resignation from the position of the National Assembly deputy speaker. Although the ARFP supreme body has not made assessment yet, Vahan Hovhannisyan says he has made a personal decision about resigning:

“I tried to persuade our citizens that the victory is possible. I failed to do it. In the whole course of the pre-election struggle there was an atmosphere of hatred and intolerance, intimidation and threats. It could not but influence the very Election Day,” the statement says.
“I make an appeal for us to be quiet and restrained. Those that today have been trying to go by the way of rebellion, should remember and realize their crimes and the disaster they have brought over our people, roughly faking the presidential elections in 1996, unbridling a self-improving machine of electoral violations that nobody has managed to stop to date. However, it is not going to be like that forever. And I urge all of you to get prepared for our victory in a self-confident way,” that’s how Vahan Hovhannisyan has addressed the people.

It is still hard to judge what are the political implications of this move. Does Vahan Hovhannisyan’s resignation mean he is taking ARF-Dashnaktsutyun out of the dirty pollitical battle between Levon and Serzh, or does it mean he’s thus sending a signal to the opposition, that despite his call to be restrained, Dashnaktsutyun is implicitly supporting the opposition claims of vote irregularities? Uzogh has posted the full text of Vahan Hovhannisyan’s announcement, and is also hosting a discussion on the issue.

One More Unique PR Action from ARF-Dashnaktsutyun

Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF-Dashnaktsutyun), are really trying their PR skills at the upcoming presidential elections. Following the first ever ‘primaries’ in Armenia held by the party on November 24-29, where anybody could come and vote, making a choice between two candidates of Dashnaktsutyun – Vahan Hovhannisyan and Armen Rustamyan, the party now has printed out 400,000 ‘contracts’ with Vahan Hovhannisyan – the ARF candidate.
According to this contract, the presidential candidate promises to make social changes, maintain political stability, contribute to the unification of Armenians in the homeland, establish social solidarity, ensure free elections.
Everybody that reads and signs the agreement will receive a small card with the picture of Vahan Hovhannisyan and will join the movement “I am with Vahan”. Cute, isn’t it? 🙂 I remember, how Kornelij Glas and Blogrel noted at the past parliamentary elections, about the electoral campaigns of various parties, and noted, that Dashanks are working hard at their campaign.
I have also heard rumours, that ARF are planning yet another major PR event, specifically targeting young people – Serj Tankian, the lead vocalist, keyboardist and rhythm guitarist of the alternative metal band System of a Down, will hold a concert in Yerevan in support of ARF-Dashnaktsutyun candidate.

Photos by Echannel

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