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Dashnak Leader Slams ‘External Interference’


Armenia - Hrant Markarian, a leader of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation, speaks to journalists, 27Feb2012.

Armenia - Hrant Markarian, a leader of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation, speaks to journalists, 27Feb2012.

A leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), on Monday accused unspecified “external forces” of trying to spread discord in the opposition party and thus weaken it following its poor showing in the recent parliamentary elections.

Hrant Markarian, the de facto head of the party’s governing Bureau, claimed that those forces are behind media reports saying that many Dashnaktsutyun members are now angry with their leadership.

According to the official election results, Dashnaktsutyun won roughly 5.5 percent of the vote, just enough to retain presence in the new Armenian parliament under the system of proportional representation. The party won only 5 parliament seats, sharply down from 16 seats it held in the last National Assembly.

“You know, we are a live organism,” Markarian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “We didn’t perform brilliantly in the elections, to put it mildly. So it’s very natural to have discontent, concerns, and different opinions within the party. If there wasn’t this, that would mean we are not a healthy party.”

But he insisted that some Armenian media outlets are grossly exaggerating the extent of that discontent in order to create a “fertile ground for external interference” ahead of this week’s conference of Dashnaktsutyun’s organization in Armenia. He refused to specify who is meddling in Dashnaktsutyun’s affairs, vaguely referring to “different kinds of forces from different power centers.”

“We are being advised to become a pro-American force, we are being advised to give up parliamentary struggle and become a purely revolutionary party, we are advised who to support and not support in [the presidential race in] Karabakh. There is lots of such advice,” he said. “This is interference. They are trying to create problems within Dashnaktsutyun.”

Markarian also downplayed his party’s election performance, saying that the May 6 vote was not democratic. “If that 5 percent is true, then it’s also true that 80 percent of our people sympathize with these authorities … But if you say that 80 percent of the people are happy with the authorities, even a boiled chicken will laugh,” he said.

Dashnaktsutyun, which was part of the country’s governing coalition until 2009, has challenged the legitimacy of the official vote tally in a joint statement with the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) and the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK).

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