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Dashnaks Unveil Pre-Election ‘Agenda’


Armenia - Armen Rustamian, a leader of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation, addresses a campaign rally in Armavir, 17Apr2012.

Armenia - Armen Rustamian, a leader of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation, addresses a campaign rally in Armavir, 17Apr2012.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) announced on Thursday that it will hold talks with other major political groups to try to drum up multi-partisan support for constitutional and other major changes which it believes should be enacted in Armenia.

The opposition party said the outcome of those “political discussions” will determine whether it will field its own candidate in the upcoming presidential election, back another contender or not participate in the vote at all.

“We are making a bid for consolidation,” Armen Rustamian, a Dashnaktsutyun leader, said, presenting the party’s pre-election “political agenda” at a news conference.

The 7-point agenda calls for Armenia’s transformation into a parliamentary republic, the holding of parliamentary elections on the solely party list basis, independence of the national judicial system and separation of big business from government. The document also envisages a “military- political alliance” between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh and the annulment of the 2009 Turkish-Armenian protocols strongly opposed by Dashnaktsutyun.

The Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), another former member of President Serzh Sarkisian’s governing coalition, also advocated serious curbs on presidential powers and electoral reform in a similar initiative announced on Tuesday. A senior BHK representative said it will negotiate with other Armenian factions to “see if there is any possibility of rallying around this idea” ahead of the February 2013 presidential election.

Rustamian made a distinction between these two initiatives, saying that his party is seeking more comprehensive change in the country. “Our package is comprehensive,” he said.

Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia has long opposed a switch to parliament-dominated governance and elections held only under the system of proportional representation.
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