‘The ARF was Established for Armenia and the Armenian People—Not to Give Power to Members of the ARF’
YEREVAN (Armenian Weekly)— On February 11, Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau chair Hrant Markarian on February 11 discussed Armenia’s upcoming parliamentary elections, the role of the ARF in Armenia and the Diaspora, as well as several other issues during an interview on Armenian Public Television’s “Orakargits Durs.”
Markarian, without providing any further detail, confirmed that the leader of the ARF parliamentary faction and head of the party’s political affairs Armen Rustamyan will be heading the ARF’s election list for April’s parliamentary elections.
During the interview, Markarian stressed that the coalition that was established last year between the ARF and the ruling Republican Party (RPA) brought a sense of hope to the Armenian people. He added that since the coalition, changes like the decrease in gas and electricity prices as well as economic initiatives for the middle class, have gradually taken shape with the participation of the ARF.
He expressed his concerns for the upcoming election list and said that no one has a right to be worried only about themselves during a such a volatile period for Armenians, stressing that war in the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) Republic could begin at any time, especially given the current unclear circumstances.
“The safety and security of Armenia is more important than the success of our political parties and our personal interests,” said Markarian. “At the end of the day, we are entering politics and joining political parties for the success of Armenia.”
In the case of war, Markarian said that Armenian political parties have to be responsible not to cause any additional problems or threats to the Armenian people. When asked what the ARF has to offer, Markarian said, “We have an ideology, an agenda, and history.” Markarian added that the ARF has been the party who has been consistent with their views since the founding of the modern Republic of Armenia. “We are the only political party with established views. For example, regarding economics,” said Markarian.
Markarian discussed how after paying close attention to past elections, he has noticed that most parties state the same thing and only list the several problems that the country is experiencing. However, according to him, their views and positions on various subjects are never clearly explained. “We are and have been an open book for the Armenian people for the last 26 years. We must use these elections to show why the ARF stands out compared to the other parties,” said Markarian.
Addressing the cooperation with the RPA, Markarian explained that the relationship between the parties was long term and that it may continue after elections. “It is through this type of agenda that we will be able to instill change within the country,” he said.
Markarian also provided the ARF’s views on Artsakh and how the issue will only progress once the independence of Artsakh is recognized by Azerbaijan. He added that retreating is not an option and that the Armenian people must struggle and keep fighting to ensure success.
In regards to the Diaspora, Markarian explained how members of the ARF from the diaspora want to be in Armenia and to participate in the everyday life and development of the country. According to Markarian, all ARF members are loyal followers of the party’s beliefs and ideology, regardless of where they live.
“The ARF was established for Armenia and the Armenian people—not to give power to members of the ARF,” said Markarian. “Our first priority will always be Armenia and the Armenian people… We love Armenia more than we love ourselves,” he added.
Markarian concluded the interview referring to the hope that was created by the government in the last few months and some of the changes that it has brought about in the country. He then reminded the interviewer that the ARF does not have any enemies within Armenia, and only has enemies “across the border.”