ARF West Election Headquarters Reacts to Debate Debacle

ANNOUCEMENT: The ARF Western Region Campaign Headquarters–set up in the Los Angeles area for the upcoming Parliamentary elections in Armenia–received an invitation to participate in a debate between political parties prior to the May 25 parliamentary elections in Armenia.

The invitation came from Stepan Partamian who runs a show on Glendale’s Charter Cable channel 26.

The ARF accepted–and agreed to send a representative to the debate on the premise that the ensuing debate would analyze professionally–and in a civilized manner–various party platforms.

The ARF representative was at the designated location on May 15 at 11:00 PM. Unfortunately–and in spite of Partamian’s efforts to start the expected debate–the representatives of the "Artarutiun" faction declined to participate in a debate with the ARF representative–insisting instead on appearing separately and presenting its case solo.

It is with sadness that we have to state that–once again–it was the Armenian community who lost a chance to hear a debate about the aforementioned issue. In spite of the other side’s stance–the ARF representative stated that his party was ready to sit with anybody to debate such vital issues on Armenia.

We would have considered this issue closed if it were not for the smear campaign the "Artarutiun" representatives unleashed against the ARF and its election platform–proving–if anything–the predetermined nature of their anti-ARF stance.

We detest this and any such uncivilized methods and strive to replace them instead with healthy political discussions on issues of difference. The ARF pays great attention to the creation of professional and civilized arenas within Armenian communities here and in the homeland. The foremost prerogative for the creation of such an atmosphere–however–is in fact tolerance of other views and programs.

We are ready to enter into positive debates with any party or coalition regarding the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Armenian. We can be opposed to others’ programs; as civilized people–however–we have to respect those very ideas and programs that we oppose.

Our people deserve this. They possess the right to hear all sides and accordingly make an educated determination about their vote.

ARF Campaign Headquarters

Los Angeles–May 16–2003

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