Armenian Opposition Party Slams Dashnaktsutyun

By Ruzanna Stepanian

(RFE/RL) – The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) wants to rejoin President Serzh Sarkisian’s government with the sole aim of benefiting from fraud in next year’s parliamentary elections, the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) claimed on Friday.

HAK leader

Levon Zurabian

insisted that Dashnaktsutyun is too unpopular to win sets in Armenia’s next parliamentary election without using “administrative resources” and getting other types of assistance from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK).

The HHK is widely expected to reach a power-sharing agreement with Dashnaktsutyun which will see the latter gain control of several ministerial portfolios and other government posts.

Dashnaktsutyun leaders say they are only concerned with using government levers to help implement sweeping constitutional changes that were enacted by President Sarkisian through the December 6 referendum. They say the changes will democratize Armenia and eventually address its grave socioeconomic problems.

Zurabian dismissed that explanation, arguing that political forces usually make coalition deals as a result of elections, not before them. He said that the HHK, which has a comfortable majority in the current Armenian parliament, wants to share responsibility for its failed policies with Dashnaktsutyun.

“You may wonder why Dashnaktsutyun is entering that game,” said Zurabian.“It’s very easy to explain that. Dashnaktsutyun has no hope that it can get elected [to the parliament] through clean elections, based on its approval rating.”

“That is why they are only pinning their hopes on using administrative resources together with the Republicans to somehow on enter the [next] parliament,” he alleged.

Vahram Baghdasarian, the leader of the HHK’s parliamentary faction, shrugged off Zurabian’s claims.

Official results of the last parliamentary elections held in 2012 showed Dashnaktsutyun garnering less than 6 percent of the vote, just enough to be represented in the 131-seats National Assembly by five deputies. The party, which had pulled out of Sarkisian’s coalition government in 2009, challenged the legitimacy of the polls, saying that its outcome was essentially decided by “unprecedented” vote buying by the ruling HHK.

Dashnaktsutyun chose not to field a candidate in a presidential election held in February 2013.

Photo Caption: Levon Zurabian, deputy chairman of the opposition Armenian National Congress, at a news conference in Yerevan, November 14, 2015.

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