The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) stands ready, in principle, to join Armenia’s new government that will be formed by Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian in the next three weeks, a leader of the opposition party said on Tuesday.
Armen Rustamian reiterated that Dashnaktsutyun’s return to the governing coalition is conditional on the acceptance of its 7-point program submitted to President Serzh Sarkisian.
The program calls, among other things, for Armenia’s transformation into a parliamentary republic and the conduct of parliamentary elections only on a party-list basis. It also demands the annulment of controversial Turkish-Armenian normalization agreements signed in 2009. Dashnaktsutyun quit Sarkisian’s former coalition cabinet in advance of their signing hailed by the international community.
Rustamian stressed that Sarkisian and his ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) have not rejected these conditions. “I think there is a change in their mindset, approaches and views,” he told reporters. “The situation has changed. I think this bodes well for making our negotiations constructive and understanding each other thoroughly.”
Dashnaktsutyun leaders already met with Sarkisian last week to discuss the president’s choice of the new prime minister. Rustamian insisted that they did not discuss ministerial positions that could be given to his party in case of its return to the government.
The issue is expected to be high on the agenda of a Dashnaktsutyun convention that will begin its work on Friday.
In recent months, Dashnaktsutyun, which holds 5 seats in Armenia’s 131-member parliament, has increasingly cooperated with three other opposition parties represented in the parliament. They agreed to seek a parliamentary vote of no confidence in the government and hold joint street protests shortly before the April 3 resignation of Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian.
Rustamian and other senior Dashnaktsutyun figures pointedly declined to attend last week’s meeting of the top leaders of the opposition forces that discussed the future of the anti-government alliance. Their conspicuous absence was widely construed as a further sign of the party’s desire to cut a new power-sharing deal with President Sarkisian.