Four prominent opposition politicians moved on Tuesday to revive a former ruling party that led Armenia to independence and was incorporated into a new political force set up by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian earlier this year.
The Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh), which governed the country from 1990-1998, played the central role in the recent transformation of Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) alliance into a single political party. The HHSh changed its name to HAK at a congress in February.
Ter-Petrosian said earlier this year that the former ruling party, which he headed in the early 1990s, has long lost its popularity and become a moribund group. This declaration was publicly denounced by several veteran HHSh figures that have fallen out with the ex-president after his unsuccessful 2008 bid to return to power.
Four such dissident oppositionists -- Alexander Arzumanian, Ararat Zurabian, Karapet Rubinian and Hovannes Igitian -- announced the launch of a process of the HHSh’s “re-registration” with the Justice Ministry.
In a written statement read out at their joint news conference, they described the party’s dissolution as an “affront to our modern history” and dismissed the HAK party as an “artificial unit.” It claimed that many “principled” HHSh members have been driven out of the former ruling party in recent years because of “a personality cult” created by Ter-Petrosian’s entourage.
“We are proud of our past,” said Arzumanian, who managed Ter-Petrosian’s 2008 presidential election campaign and was subsequently jailed by the authorities.
“One of the reasons for the creation of this party is that there is a dictatorial regime in Armenia, against which we have fought for years, and we want to continue that struggle,” Zurabian told reporters. He said the HHSh’s revival is currently backed by some 200 former party members. The new party will hold its founding congress in September, he said.