By Hovannes Shoghikian
A senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) sought to lower temperature in its growing verbal confrontation with the ruling Republican Party (HHK), saying that his party is not at war with its senior coalition partner.
The two parties have traded recriminations in the past weeks over the Armenian government’s track record and policies. The sparring is widely linked with the approaching presidential elections. Dashnaktsutyun intends to contest them with its own candidate, having refused to endorse the HHK leader, Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian.
Artur Aghabekian, a Dashnaktsutyun lawmaker and the chairman of the Armenian parliament’s committee on defense and security, stressed that his party does not want a “war of compromising material” with the HHK.
“Our society has never accepted such wars,” he told reporters. “Our society has never accepted noisy statements against [government] shortcomings. The parliamentary elections [held in May] proved this.”
Aghabekian said that although Dashnaktsutyun believes that only its candidate can successfully cope with challenges facing Armenia, it might eventually go as far as to back Sarkisian’s presidential bid. This, he added, will happen if Sarkisian faces a runoff vote with Levon Ter-Petrosian, Armenia’s former president who was at loggerheads with Dashnaktsutyun throughout his eight-year rule.
Incidentally, Aghabekian previously served as deputy defense minister at a time when the Armenian Defense Ministry was headed by of Sarkisian. The latter was appointed prime minister in March. Aghabekian, who has the rank of army general, was demobilized from the military around that time to join Dashnaktsutyun and participate in the May parliamentary elections.