ARF Says its Candidate will Become the Main Challenger in Presidential Polls

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–The candidate of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation will be Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s main challenger in the forthcoming presidential elections, a senior member of the party represented in his cabinet claimed on Thursday.
“Now that the [Sarkisian-led] Republican Party and the Prosperous Armenia Party; are acting as an alliance supporting a single presidential candidate, the ARF, which came in third in the [May parliamentary] elections, is becoming the number two contender,” said Artashes Shahbazian, secretary of the ARF parliamentary faction.
“The ARF is a party operating in the entire territory of Armenia. It has a viable structure, ideology, political program and team. It is becoming the main rival [of the Republican candidate,]” he told journalists
Shahbazian argued that the ARF won more votes than any of the opposition parties that ran for parliament.
The ARF retained three of its four ministerial portfolios after the May parliamentary polls, despite Sarkisian’s failure to secure its endorsement of his presidential bid. The ARF also made it clear that it will not bear responsibility for the work of government ministries not headed by its members.
Shahbazian insisted that his party will be seriously vying for the post of president and thinks that it is capable of defeating Sarkisian. “We are a political force for which contesting elections is not a means of staying in the political arena,” he said. “We take this quite seriously, which means that we have weighed up things a lot.”
“Taking into account a number of circumstances, we think that we have quite real chances [of victory,]” added the ARF leader.
The ARF will choose its presidential hopeful at a party congress due next we

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