By Anna SaghabalianThe Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh) announced Monday the start of its preparations for next year’s parliamentary elections which it hopes will allow Armenia’s former ruling party to emerge from a long political oblivion.
HHSh leaders reaffirmed their intention to form an electoral alliance with other opposition groups sympathetic to former President Levon Ter-Petrosian. But it remained unclear whether they are ready to make amends with prominent Ter-Petrosian associates making up a dissident HHSh faction called Armat.
Armat leaders, among them former parliament speaker Babken Ararktsian, have had little involvement in HHSh affairs ever since falling out in the late 1990s with the party’s current leadership dominated by loyalists of the fugitive former Interior Minister Vano Siradeghian. Attempts by Armat and other pro-Ter-Petrosian groups to form a single electoral bloc have failed in the past because of their uneasy relationship with Siradeghian loyalists.
Aram Manukian, a senior member of the HHSh, welcomed renewed efforts by Armat to consolidate “liberal forces” opposed to Armenia’s current leadership. However, he stressed that the faction should coordinate its actions with the HHSh. “Without the party’s structures nothing can be achieved,” he told reporters.
Manukian also announced that the HHSh newspaper “Hayk” will resume its publication this week after a seven-year hiatus. “The publication of Hayk and our growing activity is a bid to participate in the forthcoming elections,” he said. “We are realistically and slowly getting ready for the elections.”
Manukian admitted that his party remains unpopular in Armenia, with many people still associating them with the economic hardship of the early 1990s. But he claimed that it is able to win seats in parliament with the help of its allies and a well-organized election campaign. “We just need 40 days of television air to restore [popular] trust and explain what’s going on in our country,” he said.
(Photolur photo: Aram Manukian.)