ARF-Dashnaktsutyun has no candidate in presidential polls

YEREVAN- The Armenian Revolutionary Federation in Armenia will not introduce a candidate of its own for the September presidential polls, however the parameters of its participation in the electoral process has not yet been determined, announced the party’s newly elected political director and deputy of the Armenian National Assembly Ruben Hakobyan, during a press conference on July 17.

“Since Armenia’s authorities have illegally suspended the activities of the ARF in Armenia and its candidate Vahan Hovannesyan has been illegally incarcerated by the authorities, the ARF will not participate in the upcoming presidential elections,» announced Hakobyan reading a resolution adopted by the recently adjourned ARF-Dashnaktsutyun Supreme Assembly of Armenia.

Hakobyan explained that since the authorities’ actions against the ARF are politically motivated, the party’s introduction of a candidate would be impossible. He did not, however, rule out the ARF’s active participation in the electoral process, the extent of which, according to Hakobyan, has not yet been determined.

The Supreme Council member also announced that the party will continue its cooperation with the “electoral triumvirate” comprised of the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun, the Democratic Party of Armenia and the Scientific-Industrial and Civil Union of Armenia.

Hakobyan stressed that the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun will also bring its active participation in upcoming local legislative polls scheduled for November.

In accordance with a decision of the party’s highest legislative body, the World Congress, which convened late last year, the political course of the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun in Armenia would be decided by a special assembly convened recently, electing a nine-member body as the party’s Supreme Council of Armenia.

According to Hakobyan, the party opposes the authorities on political and ideological grounds and its expectations on Armenia’s national values.

“The ARF-Dashnaktsutyun, as an organization working within the Armenian state, finds it imperative and natural to establish a process of cooperation and mutual relations with the country’s leadership, regardless of the person or the political faction it represents. While the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun always favors dialogue with the authorities, it, however, is against any and all political and ideological concessions during that process,” Hakopian declared articulating another resolution emanating from the assembly.

Hakobyan also discussed a trend through which the party is “artificially being divided into two factions”, radical and non-radical, according to which the non-radical wing is aiming to normalize relations with the country’s leadership through cooperation, while the other so-called faction rejects any and all possibilities of cooperation.

“These are all artificially created opinions. I am authorized on behalf of the Supreme Assembly to announce that the ARF will forge its relations with all political forces based on its Dashnaktsutyunideological and political principles,” stressed Hakobyan.

According to the Supreme Assembly, the spokesperson explained, the so-called “Dro” and the “Trial of the 31” cases currently in progress in Armenia’s Supreme Court are politically motivated and are aimed at discrediting the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun. Hakobyan explained the basis for this conclusion and reiterated certain important portions of a July 9 announcement on the matter.

Following Hakobyan’s statements, the ARF-D Supreme Council member and organizational director Hrayr Karapetyan announced that the Supreme Assembly also adopted new by-laws for the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun organization in Armenia.

Karapetyan refuted claims that the new by-laws had been adopted to solely conform the ARF’s existing rules and regulations to the laws of the republic. Rather, explained Karapetyan, “the ARF believes that methods and modes of operation used in the Diaspora cannot be applied to the organization in Armenia,” adding that “the ARF Armenia organization has corresponded its organizational units to the administrative regions of Armenia.”

He explained that the Supreme Council, elected by the Supreme Assembly, is in charge of organizational and political activities in Armenia, while the ARF Bureau coordinates the worldwide activities of the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun.

Hakobyan announced that the newly adopted ARF by-laws will be presented to Armenia’s Justice Ministry in the near future.

“The ARF-Dashnaktsutyun has operated, is operating and will continue to operate in Armenia,” declared Karapetyan.

In an earlier interview with an Armenian weekly, ARF Supreme Assembly chairman and Supreme Council member Hovik Aghazaryan had stated that there was no pressure on the Assembly from the law-enforcement agencies of Armenia, and that the party would not mind to restructure its activities in such a manner that they meet the requirements of the leadership of the Republic, but the Ministry of Justice has not provided the party with any mechanisms to implement the restructuring, as was requested by the Armenian Supreme Court ruling of January 1995, suspending the activities of the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun for six months. Aghazaryan had explained, that the main difficulty in this case arises from the fact that the Armenian legal framework is incomplete, for it does not mention the mechanisms through which a suspended party can restructure itself to meet the needs of the law.

Aghazaryan had added, that the newly elected Supreme Council has been empowered by the Supreme Assembly to make the necessary changes to the new by-laws, to meet the letter of the law.