The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) is ready, in principle, to eventually rejoin Armenia’s government but has not yet received such an offer from President Serzh Sarkisian, a leader of the opposition party said on Friday.
Artsvik Minasian acknowledged that Dashnaktsutyun maintains regular contacts with Sarkisian on a range of pressing issues, including the economy, national security and constitutional reform. “We periodically hold discussions with the head of state, the prime minister and some ministers,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Asked whether the influential party is now prepared to take up ministerial posts in Sarkisian’s government as a junior coalition partner, Minasian said, “Let’s just forget about the word coalition in this case because we are talking about joint efforts. If there is a situation where we see, as a result of discussions, that we can be of use and solve issues with joint responsibility, we won’t exclude that option.”
“But right now there is no such proposal, neither from the authorities nor from us,” stressed Minasian.
Dashnaktsutyun, which holds 5 seats in the 131-member Armenian parliament, was represented in Armenia’s now defunct four-party governing coalition by three ministers until April 2009. It pulled out of the government in protest against Sarkisian’s policy of rapprochement with Turkey.
Last year Dashnaktsutyun teamed up with three other major opposition parties in challenging the Sarkisian administration with legislative initiatives and threats of street protests. It quit that alliance shortly before the latter launched in September a campaign of nationwide anti-government rallies.
Dashnaktsutyun leaders objected to their opposition allies’ categorical rejection of Sarkisian’s plans to turn Armenia into a parliamentary republic through sweeping constitutional changes. They have long advocated the parliamentary system of governance.
According to Minasian, the constitutional reform is currently the main focus of his party’s political activities. Dashnaktsutyun recently submitted a set of concrete proposals to a presidential commission tasked with drafting constitutional amendments. The commission will decide this summer whether to incorporate them into its proposed changes that are expected to be put on a referendum next year.