Factionalism Prevails

SOME PARTIES BACK-OUT OF AGREEMENT PROMOTING FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS–DEMOCRATIC PROCESS

YEREVAN (ARF Press Office)–In an effort to ensure fair and open presidential and parliamentary elections in Armenia–the Supreme Body of Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) undertook a series of talks with leaders of Armenian political parties during the months of November and December of 2002. During discussions with more than twenty political party leaders–the political situation in Armenia–creation of an atmosphere of tolerance–as well as the responsibility of government and political parties in conducting fair and civilized elections were addressed. The talks resulted in the ARF Supreme Body formulating a memorandum to be signed jointly by the majority of active political parties. It appears–however–that some of the original signatories have now pulled out.

Addressing question about the future of the undertaking–ARF Supreme Body representative Armen Rustamian stated that the document was constructed based on viewpoints and suggestions of all the parties involved and was presented to them for revision and further enhancement. Based on input received–the agreement was revised–and again presented to parties for final approval. At that point–Rustamian revealed–some parties chose to focus on issues strictly opposing one another–rather than laying the groundwork for cooperation. As a result–certain parties presented political deman’s based on argumentative and narrow-minded commen’s–that had nothing to do with the true objectives of the undertaking.

Consequently–regardless of initial meetings and agreemen’s–some refused to adhere to the initial draft of the memorandum:

MEMORANDUM

Whereas the politically active forces of the Republic of Armenia agree to conduct upcoming presidential and parliament elections fairly and in an appropriate manner–and agree to cooperate in constructing a democratic state–developing the political system–elevating the fundamental role of political parties–eliminating disgraceful events during elections–creating solid election traditions in the country–and recovering the confidence of people in forming their own government.

We–the political forces that sign below–agree to the following:

There is no alternative other than organizing and conducting fair and open elections. This is the only direction in ensuring stable development and democratic values. All political forces as well as high-level government officials are responsible to uphold these values.

The processes of political competition must be displayed by way of ideology and establishment of programs–to ensure direct involvement of parties in governing the country.

The upcoming parliament must become a full political body ensuring complete accountability of the Executive branch.

Regardless of disagreemen’s and pre-election ideologies–parties that oppose the government must recognize that they operate in the same political system. In such a system–mutual tolerance and respect–as well as preservation of political ethics are necessary priorities. Elections will eventually come to an end–but political forces will continue to work alongside each other.

During elections–both the government and political parties bear the responsibility of preserving stability in the country. Government must act only within the framework of its authority–while the opposition must never endanger national and state interests.

Based on these assessmen’s–we hereby announce our willingness to collaborate on the above-mentioned principles.

Our activities will be based on lessening the influences of non-political forces on the political process–promoting collaboration of election commissions–supervising elections and recording all observed election discrepancies and countering these in a unified manner.

We are committed to forming a government based on fair elections–to fully implementing the election code–and to protecting the constitutional rights of citizens of Armenia.

Original Parties Involved:

Armenian Communist Party

Armenian Democratic Party

Armenian Liberal Democratic Union

Armenian Revolutionary Federation

Constitutional Rights Union

Law and Unity Party

Law-Governed Party

National Democratic Party

National Democratic Union

National Republican Party

People’s Democratic Party

People’s Party of Armenia

Ramgavar Azadagan Party

Republic Party

Respectful Future Party

Self Determination Union

Strong Homeland Party

The New Communist Party of Armenia

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