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Dashnaks Disagree With Kocharian On Constitution


Armenia -- Artsvik Minasian, a leader of Dashnaktsutyun, addresses a political forum in Yerevan, 6Dec2012

Armenia -- Artsvik Minasian, a leader of Dashnaktsutyun, addresses a political forum in Yerevan, 6Dec2012

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) disagrees with former President Robert Kocharian’s strong objections to Armenia’s transformation into a parliamentary republic, a leader of the opposition party previously allied to him said on Wednesday.

Artsvik Minasian dismissed Kocharian’s claims that the constitutional changes put forward by President Serzh Sarkisian would prolong the ruling Republican Party’s hold on power and have other “extremely dangerous” consequences for the country. He said the parliamentary system of government envisaged by them would on the contrary bode well for democratization.

“Since President Kocharian is known for his fairly effective political initiatives, I think that if he once again reads the latest version of the constitutional changes he will reconsider many of his approaches,” claimed Minasian.

The ex-president, who governed Armenia from 1998-2008, harshly criticized Sarkisian’s constitutional package in comments made to his unofficial website on Tuesday. He singled out a draft amendment stipulating that Armenia’s parliamentary elections must always produce a clear winner controlling the majority of parliament seats. Kocharian claimed that this clause, if enacted, would lead to permanent one-party rule reminiscent of Soviet times.

Minasian rejected this comparison. Dashnaktsutyun, he said, believes that the parliamentary system coupled with general elections held only on a party-list basis would bring more pluralism to the Armenian political arena.

Dashnaktsutyun, which is particularly influential in the worldwide Armenian Diaspora, supported Kocharian throughout his decade-long rule, controlling several ministerial and other senior government posts. It remained represented in the government after Kocharian handed over power to Sarkisian in 2008.

Dashnaktsutyun moved into opposition in 2009 in protest against Sarkisian’s policy of rapprochement with Turkey. Some observers think that its strong endorsement of the constitutional reform is paving the way for its return to the government.

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