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Dashnaktsutyun Hopes For Opposition Unity In Presidential Vote


Armenia - Armen Rustamian (R), a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, at a news conference in Yerevan, 10Jul2012.

Armenia - Armen Rustamian (R), a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, at a news conference in Yerevan, 10Jul2012.

Armenia’s main opposition forces could and should field a single candidate for next year’s presidential election, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) said on Tuesday.

Armen Rustamian, the nominal head of the party’s organization in Armenia, said that is essential for achieving a “comprehensive regime change,” Dashnaktsutyun’s key declared aim.

“For us nominating our own [presidential] candidate is not an end in itself,” Rustamian told a news conference. “What we want to do is to create a competitive environment in order to achieve our objective.”

“We will take any step facilitating that,” he said, referring to the presidential ballot due in February 2013. He added that the party will clarify its election strategy at an extraordinary congress that will be held later this year.

Dashnaktsutyun’s last conference in Armenia finished its work as recently as last Sunday. It discussed the party’s performance in the recent parliamentary elections and elected a new governing body headed by Rustamian.

Rustamian hinted that Dashnaktsutyun will soon start consultations with other major opposition forces on the possibility of challenging President Serzh Sarkisian with a joint presidential candidate. He declined to speculate on who that candidate might be, saying that working out a common opposition platform is far more important. Armenia’s transformation into a parliamentary republic should be a key element of the platform, he said.

Dashnaktsutyun cooperated with former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) and Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) in the parliamentary race. Ter-Petrosian, whose relationship with Dashnaktsutyun had for years been tense, has not ruled out the possibility of again running for president.

Another potential opposition candidate is Raffi Hovannisian of the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, the other opposition force represented in the Armenian parliament.
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