YEREVAN (ARF Press Service)—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation concluded its 15th Supreme Assembly of Armenia on Sunday with the election of a new ARF Supreme Council of Armenia to govern the pan-national political parties operations in Armenia for the next two years. The Assembly, which convened Friday in Aghveran, issued a statement emphasizing the need for regime change and highlighting the party’s priorities in Armenia. The statement specifically stressed the need for the restoration of national ideals within Armenia’s foreign policy, the establishment of social justice, protection of civil rights and the need to form a new government.
At the conclusion, a nine-person council to oversee the party’s operations in Armenia was elected comprised of the following: Hayrapet Babayan, Arsen Hambardzumyan, Tatul Harutyunyan, Michael Manukyan, Ara Nranian, Armen Rustamian, Spartak Seyranian, Simon Simonian and Hrach Tadevosyan. Rustamian was re-elected to chair the body.
During a press conference Monday, Rustamian emphasized that regime change was the only way out of the current social and political quagmire in Armenia. “We want to change the government by means of elections. That is the way to go. Regime change through uprising is always dangerous and harmful, especially given that Armenia and the Armenians now face an unfinished war,” said Rustamian.
He also announced that during the next presidential elections the ARF will nominate its own candidate. “If Armenians had elected [ARF candidate] Vahan Hovhannesian president in 2008 we would be living in a different Armenia now,” explained Rustamian.
“Obviously, the incumbent Armenian authorities are unable to solve topical problems. The country needs a new regime, which would be capable of resolving problems,” said Rustamian. In this context, he said, the ARF is the only force capable of solving existing problems. “The time comes when changing the ruling regime becomes a matter of national security.”
Asked why the ARF does not demand President Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation if the party is dissatisfied with his policies, Rustamian responded: “You are right. How long can we give the president new chances? It is enough. We have closed our eyes to too many things and given him many chances. They should not test the ARF’s patience and prudence.”
The ARF statement contains a long of list of socioeconomic and political problems facing Armenia, including a culture of electoral fraud, government abuse and widespread poverty.
“Today the state is not on the side of its citizens,” said Rustamian. “Unfortunately, we have two types of states: One caters to the interests of a minority—a privileged class—while the other has abandoned its citizens.”
“Social discontent has never reached such a peak and the social situation has never been so difficult. I hope that the authorities realize this as well,” added Rustamian, who predicted that if these conditions persist, a social uprising could take place in the country.
The ARF leader said that without necessary reforms, all future elections will worsen the country’s already tenuous situation. He said the inability of the people to form a power base through free expression has caused the current impasse.
Rustamian also didn’t rule out early elections—both presidential and parliamentary. “A force-majeure situation can always arise in a country like ours, and any political force respecting itself must always be prepared for such scenarios.”
“During elections the authorities themselves corrupt the people and then they seek great achievements. It is impossible,” explained Rustamian.