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Government Sees ‘Long-Term’ Deal With Dashnaks


Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian (R) and Dashnaktsutyun leader Hrant Markarian attend a celebration in Yerevan organized by Dashnaktsutyun.

Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian (R) and Dashnaktsutyun leader Hrant Markarian attend a celebration in Yerevan organized by Dashnaktsutyun.

The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) said on Tuesday that their upcoming power-sharing agreement will signify a “long-term” political alliance.

An HHK spokesman announced on February 10 that the two parties have agreed the key terms of the deal and will finalize it “by the end of this week.” They have still not made any statements to that effect, however.

Senior representatives of both groups downplayed the delay. “There are only technical issues that are being worked out,” said Vahram Baghdasarian, the HHK’s parliamentary leader. “Don’t worry or speculate.”

“We don’t want to act in haste to have to again address issues a few months later,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “We want to have a fundamental and long-term agreement which we will be able to jointly implement.”

“Please wait a little bit more until everything is formalized,” said Artsvik Minasian, a Dashnaktsutyun leader tipped to become minister of economy or justice as a result of the coalition arrangement with President Serzh Sarkisian.

According to Armenian press reports, Dashnaktsutyun will get three ministerial, six vice-ministerial and two gubernatorial posts despite having only 5 seats in Armenia’s 131-member parliament. The nationalist party controlled a similar number of senior government positions until it pulled out of Sarkisian’s cabinet in 2009 in protest against his policy of rapprochement with Turkey.

Both Baghdasarian and Minasian refused to be drawn on the jobs that will be given to Dashnaktsutyun members this time around. They emphasized instead the long-term character of their renewed cooperation.

Minasian said the two parties are planning to sign a comprehensive document that will contain a “roadmap” to addressing political, economic and security challenges facing Armenia. Armenians will feel the positive impact of the resulting “reforms” already in run-up to parliamentary elections due in May 2017, he said without elaborating.

“I think that we can effect major changes in the country through cooperation,” Minasian added in reference to Dashnaktsutyun’s motives.

Political forces remaining in opposition to Sarkisian dismiss such explanations. One of them, the Armenian National Congress (HAK), claims that Dashnaktsutyun is only anxious to retain its modest presence in the parliament by benefiting from electoral fraud planned by the ruling party.

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