The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) would welcome former President Robert Kocharian’s renewed direct involvement in political processes in the country, a leader of the opposition party said on Tuesday.
“If you have concerns about our country’s course, then being passive is wrong,” Armen Rustamian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am), commenting on Kocharian’s latest claims that he has not yet decided whether to return to active politics.
Rustamian said that Kocharian should have staged such a comeback “long ago.” “[Former] presidents must not leave the arena,” he said.
Dashnaktsutyun supported Kocharian and was represented in his governments by up to three ministers throughout his 1998-2008 presidency. The influential party quit the government one year after he handed over power to Serzh Sarkisian in a hotly disputed presidential election.
Rustamian said that Kocharian does have reason to criticize the Sarkisian administration’s economic track record because the Armenian economy grew much faster when he was in power. “During his time we had some degree of economic momentum. It’s a fact,” argued Dashnaktsutyun’s parliamentary leader.
Asked whether his party would stand by Kocharian should the latter decide to come out of political retirement, Rustamian said: “Dashnaktsutyun always stands by its ideas.”
Dashnaktsutyun’s tenuous relationship with Sarkisian has improved markedly over the past year due to controversial constitutional changes sought by the current president. Unlike other major opposition groups, the pan-Armenian party strongly supports those changes envisaging Armenia’s switch to a parliamentary system of government.
Kocharian, by contrast, has spoken out against the constitutional reform. Some observers believe that the parliamentary model would reduce his chances of eventually returning to power.
Rustamian expressed hope that the ex-president will not campaign against the proposed constitutional amendments in case of his comeback.