The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) said on Thursday that it will not join a new governing coalition which President Serzh Sarkisian is trying to form following the recent resignation of his current cabinet.
A leader of the opposition party, Armen Rustamian, made clear, however, that it may still become part of the government later on if Sarkisian accepts a set of mainly political conditions set by Dashnaktsutyun.
In a statement, Dashnaktsutyun's governing body in Armenia said it has decided to “continue to operate in the opposition field” while trying to “spare our country upheavals and instability.” “As a consequence of the socioeconomic policy pursued by the authorities, the overwhelming majority of our citizens has lost faith in the future and is demanding radical reforms,” it said.
Dashnaktsutyun leaders have previously not ruled out the possibility of joining the new government which is currently being formed by Sarkisian and his newly appointed prime minister, Hovik Abrahamian. They said that is contingent on the president accepting seven mostly political changes demanded by them.
Those demands include Armenia’s transformation into a parliamentary republic and the formal annulment of controversial Turkish-Armenian normalization agreements signed in 2009. The Dashnaktsutyun statement insisted on their full acceptance by Sarkisian.
Rustamian said that he and other Dashnaktsutyun leaders have discussed those conditions with Sarkisian and other top representatives of the ruling Republican Party during their recent political consultations. “Their answers are ambiguous,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) “They neither reject nor accept our approaches. We need guarantees that the course pointed by us will be chosen.”
“If we see a real will to embrace those 7 points, we can adopt a corresponding attitude,” Rustamian said, confirming that his party remains ready to join the new government.
The Dashnaktsutyun statement did not clarify whether or not the nationalist party, which is particularly influential Armenian Diaspora communities around the world, will back Abrahamian’s cabinet when it seeks a parliamentary vote of confidence later this month. The Armenian National Congress (HAK), a more radical opposition party led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, hopes that the opposition forces represented in the National Assembly will not only vote against but also hold joint anti-government allies.
The HAK, Dashnaktsutyun as well as the Prosperous Armenia and Zharangutyun (Heritage) parties planned such protests before former Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s surprise resignation on April 3. The four opposition parties have increasingly cooperated with each other in the past several months.
Rustamian stressed that the Dashnaktsutyun demands must also be accepted by its opposition allies. “We will not push for regime change unless it is clear what the new government would do,” he said. “For us it is essential that the new government guarantee that it would be different from the one which we are trying to get rid of.”