ARF Appeal Again Rejected by Justice Ministry

YEREVAN (Yerevan news service) – The authorities have left the Armenian Revolutionary Federation no other choice but to fight for its rights on its own–stated ARF Executive Council member Gagik Mkrtchian during a press conference Friday where he announced that Armenia’s Justice Ministry had–once again–rejected the party’s appeal to reconvene its activities in the homeland.

The ARF leaders presented the press with the latest rejection by the Justice Ministry–in which the government stated that the ARF Supreme Assembly–convened last summer–was illegal–thus making it impossible for the Justice Ministry to review the party’s appeal.

Characterizing the ministry’s response as a blatant rejection–Mkrtchian stated that the ARF had done all it could to adhere to government requests–but to no avail.

Mkrtchian added that the ARF would no longer appeal to the prime minister–president or justice ministry.

"We are currently working and have considerable strength; the proof for that was the presidential elections," said Mkrtchian.

ARF Executive Council’s organization representative Hrair Karapetian stated that the imperative for definitive political change in Armenia was ripe.

"During the presidential elections–the people showed their force–and the leadership must be accountable to them. The crisis is continuously deepening and if the authorities do not make radical changes– the opposition will have to do it," remarked Karapetian who also briefed reporters on the progress of National Alliance activities.

Mkrtchian added that the Alliancea grouping of political partieswas scheduled to convene a plenary session on March 29 to address the political platform of the newly formed coalition–and outline the course of activities in what was deemed a "political spring" by press conference organizers.

"We are committed. We have the strengths and abilities–and we know that a large portion of the public will support us," said Mkrtchian.

The ARF leader also announced that ARF Executive Council member and "Trial of 31" defendant Vahan Hovanessian has been registered as a candidate in the Armavir region for an open seat National Assembly elections.

Mkrtchian said that this move was to re-assert Hovanessian’s presence in Armenia’s political life–adding that based on preliminary information–Yerevan Mayor Vano Siradeghian was also contemplating a run in that district.

Karapetian also discussed the ARF’s position on Robert Kocharian’s appointment as Armenia’s prime minister–explaining that while Kocharian’s input and activities in the past have greatly advanced the Karabakh question and the Armenian Cause–with accepting this appointment–Kocharian was entering a new arena.

While the ARF endorsed Kocharian’s candidacy during last year’s Karabakh presidential elections–"it is impossible to view Kocharian in the same light… He has many issues to tackle–in the first place the Karabakh question," explained Karapetian.

He explained that Kocharian’s appointment can in no way effect the goals of the opposition.

"The newly appointed prime minister may have bright ideas and plans–however–the opposition toward the leadership is not based on the people–rather political policies," Karapetian explained.

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