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Dashnaktsutyun Slams Armenian Government


Armenia -- Ishkhan Saghatelian, the head of Dashnaktsutyun's governing body in Armenia, at a news conference in Yerevan, April 30, 2019.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) on Tuesday strongly criticized the current authorities’ track record but said it has no plans yet to try to unseat them.

In a statement adopted at a congress held in Yerevan, the opposition party’s organization in Armenia claimed that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and his government have failed to achieve “tangible results in any area of public life.” It accused them of lacking “strategic development programs,” pursuing an “unpredictable foreign policy,” breaching judicial independence, and systematically discrediting “traditional national, spiritual and cultural values.”

“We often justify the failings and inactivity of the current authorities by comparing them with the former ones,” said Ishkhan Saghatelian, the newly elected head of Dashnaktsutyun’s governing body in Armenia.

“Our people gave these authorities a strong vote of confidence and have great expectations but they are not living up to those expectations,” he told a news conference.

Saghatelian made clear at the same time that his party does not have a “regime change agenda” yet. He dismissed a newspaper report which claimed that Dashnaktsutyun plans to launch an anti-government protest movement before the end of this year.

Dashnaktsutyun was part of Armenia’s former government ousted during last spring’s “velvet revolution.” It received two ministerial posts in Pashinian’s first cabinet formed in May. Pashinian sacked his Dashnaktsutyun-affiliated ministers and other government officials in October, accusing their party of secretly collaborating with former President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK).

Dashnaktsutyun has since been increasingly critical of Pashinian’s government. The center-left nationalist party, which remains influential in the Armenian Diaspora, failed to win any seats in the Armenian parliament in snap general elections held in December.

Saghatelian, who served as a regional governor from June-October 2018, said Dashnaktsutyun is now open to cooperation with any political force, including the HHK, which shares its concerns and views. “We don’t have a black list,” he said.

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