(ASBAREZ) YEREVAN–The leadership of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation – Dashnaktsutyun in Armenia confirmed on Tuesday the party mediated a meeting on Tuesday between President Serzh Sargsyan and Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukyan, who late last week publicly decelerated war on one another in unusually harsh statements, which further exacerbated the country’s domestic political situation.
The ARF-D, which through its Bureau political representative Armen Rustamyan on Friday called for calm and national unity, said the meeting was “beneficial” and the two sides came to a “certain understanding.”
Rustamyan confirmed the meeting and indicated to 168jam.am that the “ice is melting.”
“We have always said that sharp differences should be smoothed out,” Rustamyan said. “We are glad that the meeting has finally taken place, that there is contact and the ice is melting.”
ARF-D’s Supreme Council of Armenia chairman and the secretary of the party’s parliamentary faction Aghvan Vardanyan said that the Sargsyan-Tsarukyan meeting was “extremely important, so the situation in the country does not deteriorate.”
Since the announcements by Sargsyan and Tsarukyan last week, the PAP leader along with the leaders of the Armenian National Congress and the Heritage Party called for a massive rally, scheduled for Friday, during which the opposition leaders are expected to renew their calls for regime change.
The ARF-D has said given the tenor of the announcements, and the personal attacks waged by the two powerful leaders, it will not take sides and will not take part in the February 20 rally.
President Serzh Sargsyan on Thursday night lashed out at Tsarukyan while speaking at his Republican Party of Armenia Council meeting. The president used unusually harsh words to describe Tsarukyan–also known as “Doddy Gago”—often referring to him as “stupid” and “a detriment to Armenian society.”
The president also fired Tsarukyan from Armenia’s National Security Council; called on his party members, who comprise the majority in parliament, to launch an investigation into Tsarukyan’s absence from National Assembly sessions (according to Sargsyan of the 145 parliamentary sessions, Tsarukyan has been present to only four); tasked the prime minister to launch inquiries into Tsarukyan’s financial dealings and alleged evading of “billions” in taxes; and tasked the judicial structures to begin probes into alleged criminal conduct by Tsarukyan, which he said have been “common knowledge” in Armenia.
On Friday, Tsarukyan called on the citizens of Armenia to mobilize and take to the streets and change the current regime through early presidential elections.
“I am taking up the gauntlet and am going to fight till the victory,” said Tsarukyan at an emergency meeting with senior PAP officials. “A new situation has surfaced since yesterday and it requires a solution. I believe that the only solution is a complete regime change through early presidential elections”.
(ARMENIAN WEEKLY) Rustamyan voiced his belief that the recent political tensions have entered a new and dangerous stage and can have irreversible repercussions for the country. “We could lose everything,” said Rustamyan, in a recent interview, citing that the battle between the PAP and the RPA confirm the ARF-D’s grave concerns about the political landscape of the country.
Rustamyan had also confirmed that the ARF-D has been working hard to bring together the two sides and broker an agreement. “Although I will not give details about our efforts, I can say that we have been using our contacts and hope to succeed,” Rustamyan told Yerkir.am.
The ARF-D is steadfast in its belief that constitutional reforms are needed in the country. However, political conflicts and snap elections will not solve the issue, according to Rustamyan. He believes the only way conditions will change is if all sides come to the table and discuss the issue of constitutional and electoral reform. “We should make our demands clear to the regime. If there is unity in our demands, then the authorities will not have any reason to deny us,” said Rustamyan.
On Jan. 15, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and member of the RPA announced that his party is ready to discuss the ARF-D’s proposals for constitutional reforms. “I have examined the proposals, and I must say that the ARF-D did serious work. There are proposals that I agree with, and there are proposals that can become a topic for discussion. There might be proposals that the RPA won’t agree with, but the fact remains that the [they] are written by professionals…in which the interests of the state are placed above the interests of political parties,” Sharmazanov explained.
According to Sharmazanov, the proposed constitutional reforms are very important and worthy of consideration. “In this sense, I think the Dashnaktsutyun’s proposals are worth discussing. Of course, there are issues on which the RPA has its own views, but they are issues that can be discussed. I’m certain that we can solve all those issues through discussions,” he added.
Rustamyan explained that the ARF-D is not getting ready to join a coalition with the RPA after President Sargsyan’s withdrawal of the Turkey-Armenia protocols from Parliament. According to Rustamyan, the recalling of the protocols was just one of seven demands the ARF-D has presented to the government. “If there are real steps taken towards the realization of those seven points, then we [the ARF-D] is ready to co-operate with anyone ready to work with us, said Rustamyan. He also urged members of all parties to join the ARF-D when they sit at the bargaining table with authorities.