By Emil Danielyan
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) on Monday recognized Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s victory in Armenia’s disputed presidential election and offered to pull out of his cabinet.
In a written statement, the nationalist party’s leadership in Armenia said it “does not dispute the final results of the elections and wishes President-Elect Serzh Sarkisian success.”
The statement came three days after Dashnaktsutyun’s presidential candidate, Vahan Hovannisian, resigned as deputy speaker of parliament, citing his poor showing in the election. According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), he won only 6.1 percent of the vote, trailing Sarkisian and opposition leaders Levon Ter-Petrosian and Artur Baghdasarian. Hovannisian criticized the vote as deeply flawed, saying that Armenians’ right to elect their government was “trampled underfoot.”
The Dashnaktsutyun statement likewise alleged vote irregularities but did not lay the blame only on the government. It claimed in particular that all “leading candidates” handed out vote bribes on election day. The statement also complained about “mutual hatred” between the political teams of Sarkisian and former President Levon Ter-Petrosian which it said “artificially” divided the nation.
Dashnaktsutyun also said it is ready to withdraw from Armenia’s governing coalition in which it is represented by three ministers in accordance with its power-sharing agreement with Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK). It was not clear if the party is also ready in principle to negotiate a new deal with the HHK. Dashnaktsutyun leaders are scheduled to hold a news conference on Tuesday.