The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) hopes that its supporters will vote in next month’s presidential election despite its decision not to field any candidates, a leader of the opposition party said on Thursday.
The decision was announced following a party conference held late last month. Dashnaktsutyun said none of its leaders will run for president because the vote will not be free and fair, contrary to government assurances. At the same time, it left open the possibility of endorsing another opposition candidate.
“We do not want to discredit the whole institution of elections and that is why the electorate had better participate in the elections,” Armen Rustamian, a Dashnaktsutyun leader, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
“How should they vote? We will certainly declare that and give guidance to our electorate after monitoring processes,” he said.
Rustamian made clear, however, that he himself will not vote for any of the eight candidates registered by the Central Election Commission (CEC) in any case. “I will definitely not vote for anybody,” he said. “In all likelihood, I will write ‘against all’ on the ballot.”
Dashnaktsutyun announced its election stance over two weeks after a December 8 meeting between its leaders and President Serzh Sarkisian.
The party, which holds five seats in Armenia’s 131-member parliament, was part of Sarkisian’s coalition government until April 2009. It quit the coalition in protest against Sarkisian’s policy of rapprochement with Turkey.