Arf Will Not Field A Presidential Candidate


Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

ARF Supreme Council of Armenia members Arsen Hambartsumian, Armen
Rustamian and Aghvan Vardanian at a press conference Wednesday

YEREVAN-The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of
Armenia announced Wednesday that a special Congress of the party held
a day before overwhelmingly decided to not field a candidate for the
upcoming presidential elections in Armenia.

“In accordance with the Supreme Assembly’s July decision, the ARF
Supreme Council of Armenia took the initiative of putting forward a
process to form a wide accord around a unified political agenda.

Efforts were made with active political forces and civic circles
to create an accord around a political platform so as to develop
a unified oppositional front,” said a statement issued by the ARF
Supreme Council of Armenia on Wednesday.

“Both, this initiative and the political agenda that was introduced
were welcomed and certain prerequisites for making the process
effective did exist. The possibility existed to at least restore
the people’s broken trust in elections, to generate a qualitatively
new situation, to conduct truly competitive elections and to create
the ground for the regime change. However, preconceived approaches
conditioning the accord with this or that concrete candidate prevented
the efforts – to participate in the presidential election with a united
agenda- from reaching their logical conclusion,” added the statement.

Taking the current situation into consideration and based on the
aforementioned assertions, the ARF Supreme Council Assembly of Armenia,
decided “1. Not to nominate a candidate for the upcoming February 18,
2013 presidential election. 2. Ruled out supporting the candidate
of the authorities, to authorize the Supreme Council to follow the
pre-electoral processes and, if the need arises, to orient the ARF
members and supporters accordingly. 3. To continue pursuing with all
political means the realization of the party’s seven-point platform,”
added the statement.

At a press conference Wednesday, ARF Supreme Council of Armenia
representative Armen Rustamian, ARF Parliamentary Faction member
Aghvan Vartanian and ARF Supreme Council of Armenia member Arsen
Hambartsumian outlined the party’s decision by saying that the current
reality in Armenia-the manner in which elections are run and the
shadowy political relations inherent in the country-was one of the
factors that prompted the party to stay out of the elections.

“The nature of elections which has unfortunately taken hold in
Armenia and – like many other areas of our life such as the economy
and political relations – is shadowy,” said Vartianian.

“People go to the polls but the decision [on an election outcome]
was made long ago through other means and levers. We have not managed
to create joint mechanisms for changing that nature,” added Vartanian.

He also cited the failure to form a united opposition front by
nominating a single candidate.

“Participation in the predetermined elections would mean being part of
a ready-made scenario. We have said on many occasions we do no play
the game of others and are never guided by the scenario set forth by
others,” said Vartanian.

The ARF leader emphasized that not nominating its own candidate
did not mean that the party will withdraw from taking party in the
electoral process

“On the contrary, we’ll be trying to ensure that the electoral
processes develop in the proper direction,” he said.

The ARF publicized its election platform earlier this fall with a
seven-point plan that included shifting Armenia’s governance to a
parliamentary system and urging the immediate removal of Armenia’s
signature from the Armenia-Turkey protocols.

Party leaders met with major political factions in Armenia, including
President Serzh Sarkisian, but were unable to create broad-based
support for the plan.

Sarkisian, who made his re-election bid official last month, rejected
the two aforementioned main tenets of the plan.

On Tuesday, former president and leader of the Armenian National
Congress, Levon Ter-Petrosian also announced that he would not seek
the presidency, joining the leader of the Prosperous Armenian Party
Gagik Tsarukian, who announced that he, too, would not run for office
and pledged that his party would not endorse Sarkisian’s candidacy.

From: A. Papazian