Dashnaktsutyun On Verge Of Dissolution


Haykakan Zhamanak
July 23 2008

The 14th congress of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation –
Dashnaktsutyun held on 18-20 July in Vanadzor city [Lori Region]
was noteworthy not only because Armen Rustamyan was re-elected to
the office of representative of the Dashnaktsutyun’s supreme body,
but also because of internal political rumblings.

As we have already reported, many Dashnaktsutyun members raised
the issue of withdrawing from the [governing] coalition at that
meeting. Of course, Dashnaktsutyun made an official statement in
the end reiterating its intention to remain in the coalition, but in
essence, the internal problems of this party have not come to an end
by this.

According to our information, the process of dissolution of
Dashnaktsutyun’s some regional entities, which started months
ago, has intensified lately and it cannot be ruled out that the
possibility of withdrawing from the coalition was discussed at the
Dashnaktsutyun congress. Specifically, at issue is the dissolution
of Dashnaktsutyun’s Kosh entity [in the village of Kosh in Aragatsotn
Region]. This was a great blow to Dashnaktsutyun, which had to send a
special representative to the area – Deputy Parliament Speaker Hrayr
Karapetyan. The latter made some promises to his fellows in Kosh,
asking to keep the party’s regional branch in exchange. Karapetyan’s
colleagues, however, announced that they would restore the dissolved
entities only after true reforms had been carried out. It turns out
that discontent in these areas is quite remarkable.

Local Dashnaktsutyun members, who have great influence on the
constituencies in the area, complain that in the [19 February]
presidential election they had to work not for their candidate – Vahan
Hovhannesyan – but for [President] Serzh Sargsyan and [the National
Security Council secretary, then presidential candidate form the
Orinats Yerkir (Law-Governed Country) Party] Artur Baghdasaryan. This
circumstance insulted very much those who really consider themselves
belonging to Dashnaktsutyun, who stress that Dashnaktsutyun has
never been so weak before. It is noteworthy that the data published
by the Central Electoral Commission on the results of the May 2007
parliamentary election and February 2008 presidential election also
prove this. In particular, in precincts Nos 14 and 15, which include
also the town of Ashtarak, Kosh village and Ujan town [in Aragatsotn
Region], the numbers demonstrate more than a prominent pattern. At
almost all the polling stations in these precincts Dashnaktsutyun
received almost the same number of votes as the [ruling] Republican
Party of Armenia [RPA] in the parliamentary election, and at some
polling stations even more than the RPA. The Orinats Yerkir Party,
however, polled half as mush votes, and in some places three times
less votes than Dashnaktsutyun.

[Passage omitted: statistics on polling results at a polling station
in Aragatsotn Region in the parliamentary election]

However, the pattern changed totally in the presidential election, and
it turned out that in the communities which were under the influence
of Dashnaktsutyun members, Vahan Hovhannesyan did not manage to win
as much votes as in the parliamentary election.

[Passage omitted: statistics on polling results at some polling
stations in Aragatsotn Region in the presidential election]

Incidentally, according to our information, local members of
Dashnaktsutyun "worked" for Serzh Sargsyan and Artur Baghdasaryan
in the presidential election on orders from the government and with
the consent of Dashnaktsutyun leaders. The fact that the issue of
withdrawing from the coalition was raised at the Dashnaktsutyun
congress proves that Dashnaktsutyun is in the most complicated
situation than ever, so complicated that the Dashnaktsutyun elite
already had to react to the complaints of rank-and-file Dashnaktsutyun
members. We would like to add that according to our information,
Dashnaktsutyun is waiting for Dashnaks from the diaspora to intervene
and make the final decision in order to find a way out of the
situation. In fact, tensions in Dashnaktsutyun are just flaring up.