ANM Dissidents Form New Party

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–A group of prominent members of the former ruling Armenian National Movement–dissenting with the present party leadership–announced on Friday the formation of what they say is an apolitical organization promoting a Western-type democracy in Armenia.

The organization named "EuroWay" will hold its founding congress on Saturday–Ara Sahakian–a senior ANM deputy in parliament–told RFE/RL.

"Despite its Armenian cultural identity–Armenia is part of the European civilization in terms of its social and political development," Sahakian–a former deputy speaker of parliament said. The organization will strive to "consolidate supporters of democracy–human rights and freedom" and foster Armenia’s "smooth and effective integration in the European structures," he said.

Among its founders are veteran ANM figures like Karapet Rubinian (also a former deputy speaker)–Rev. Husik Lazarian and Armen Yeghiazarian–former minister of economy. They are known to be at odds wit the ANM’s flamboyant chairman–Vano Siradeghian–who controls most of the party branches.

Last year–Sahakian was expelled from the center-right party but has refused to recognize the move’s legitimacy.

Sahakian denied that EuroWay’s establishment has any political motives. He said the organization will focus on holding conferences–establishing external contacts and even plans to open a web site on the internet.

"The ultimate destination of Russia and countries in our region is a European democracy. We believe that citizens and elite of Armenia–Azerbaijan and Georgia should promote peace and stability in the region," he said.

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