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Dashnaktsutyun Decides Against Election Boycott


Armenia -- Dashnaktsutyun leader Ishkhan Saghatelian addresses protesters outside the parliament building in Yerevan, March 9, 2021.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), a major opposition party, announced on Monday that it will participate in anticipated snap general elections as part of its efforts to oust Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian from power.

In a statement, it said the decision was made at a party congress held over the weekend.

It remained unclear whether Dashnaktsutyun will join an electoral alliance or run for parliament on its own. The statement said the congress authorized the party’s governing body in Armenia to decide “the format of Dashnaktsutyun’s participation” in the elections expected in late June.

Reports in the Armenian press have said that Dashnaktsutyun could team up with former President Robert Kocharian. The latter stated earlier this month that he will lead an alliance comprising at least two opposition parties.

Dashnaktsutyun is a key member of the Homeland Salvation Movement, a coalition of more than a dozen opposition groups that have held street protests in recent months in a bid to topple Pashinian over his handling of last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Pashinian has refused to step down and pledged to hold the snap elections instead.

Although the Homeland Salvation Movement has insisted that such polls be held by an interim government, only one of its members, former President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), has called for an election boycott so far.

Other members of the alliance, notably Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), made clear their intention to join the parliamentary race already in March.

The Dashnaktsutyun statement stressed that the upcoming vote is only “one of the means of ousting the treasonous authorities.”

It also said: “Although the authorities had to call the early parliamentary elections as a result of the popular struggle, it is evident that the authorities will do everything to prolong their rule under the guise of the elections.”

Dashnaktsutyun, which has branches in major Armenian communities around the world, is not represented in the current parliament, having garnered only about 4 percent of the vote in the last elections held in December 2018.

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