ARF Continues to Deliberate on Government

ARF Bureau Representative Hrant Markarian

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Armenian Revolutionary Federation expects a final decision on whether the party will continue its presence in the ruling coalition soon.

“We are approaching the finishing line,” ARF Bureau representative Hrant Markarian told RFE/RL on Monday. “I think the answer will be published tomorrow. It is either this way, or that.”

Earlier on Monday the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia held yet another meeting to discuss the party’s immediate plans. However, ARF representatives still avoided giving specific answers regarding their participation in the possible coalition.

Discussions between the ARF leadership and President Robert Kocharian regarding a new political coalition began still last week.

The ARF leadership then reportedly received “new proposals” from the head of state on the terms of the party’s continued presence in prime minister Serzh Sarkisian’s government, where it currently holds four portfolios.

The party’s Supreme Council met on Friday, but made no decisions apart from instructing its collective leadership to draft a response to Kocharian’s proposals.

“The ARF has presented its positions and they must be preserved. Of course, this implies keeping political independence,” ARF Supreme Council representative Armen Rustamian told RFE/RL late last week. “The question of portfolios is the very last and easiest.”

Also Monday, Sarkisian stopped short of revealing any new details about the ongoing negotiations over the new government while meeting with media representatives on Monday, but he said there would be “some things that perhaps have never existed in Armenian political culture before.”

Sarkisian confirmed that the opening meeting of the new National Assembly will be held as scheduled on June 7 and that the new government will be formed within the period of time envisaged by the constitution.

“I think it [the composition of the new government] will be clear on Thursday, but the public will know about it only when we will officially send proposals from the government to the republic’s president,” Sarkisian said during the opening of a new government press center on June 4.

Sarkisian said negotiations with the ARF were still continuing and according to him they will take a maximum of a day or two more.

“I think the changes in the new government will be quite large-scale, but on the other hand I am sure that our success will come not through changing everything. The directions where we’ve had success, where energy still can be seen will remain, and the directions that need change will change,” Sarkisian said, adding that “experience and the aspirations of new people should be combined” in the government work.


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