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Vahan Hovannisian with supporters
By Emil Danielyan
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF / Dashnaktsutyun) on Monday recognized Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan’s victory in Armenia’s disputed presidential election and offered to pull out of his cabinet.
In a written statement, the nationalist party’s leadership in Armenia said it “does not dispute the final results of the elections and wishes President-Elect Serzh Sargsyan success.”
The statement came three days after Dashnaktsutyun’s presidential candidate, Vahan Hovannisian, resigned as deputy speaker of parliament, citing his poor showing in the election. According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), he won only 6.1 percent of the vote, trailing Sargsyan and opposition leaders Levon Ter-Petrosian and Artur Baghdasarian. Hovannisian criticized the vote as deeply flawed, saying that Armenians’ right to elect their government was “trampled underfoot.”
The Dashnaktsutyun statement likewise alleged vote irregularities but did not lay the blame only on the government. It claimed in particular that all “leading candidates” handed out vote bribes on election day. The statement also complained about “mutual hatred” between the political teams of Sargsyan and former President Levon Ter-Petrosian which it said “artificially” divided the nation.
Dashnaktsutyun also said it is ready to withdraw from Armenia’s governing coalition in which it is represented by three ministers in accordance with its power-sharing agreement with Sargsyan’s Republican Party (HHK). It was not clear if the party is also ready in principle to negotiate a new deal with the HHK.
Source: "Armenia Liberty" website (Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty), Prague, 25 February 2008 (www.rferl.org) Adjusted
Photolur photo: Vahan Hovhannissian addressing party supporters.

ARF Supreme Council of Armenia issues announcement on elections:
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) Supreme Council of Armenia Monday (25 February 2008) issued an announcement, through which it assessed last week's presidential elections.
Below is the translated text of the announcement:
The 2008 Presidential Election became yet another effort on the road to the future democratization process of our country. We were able to and should have emerged from this effort more united and strong, which would have enabled us to face internal political, socio-economic and external challenges.
That did not happen for various reasons: during the entire campaign mutual enmity and hatred, as well as intolerance and threats superseded all. The public was artificially divided and polarized. On the one hand, were the previous regime's dogmatic efforts to change the government, while on the other hand, the current regime persisted to maintain individual positions.
The ARF candidate did his best to conduct his campaign based on programmatic and ideological parameters to continue the progress of our country in a healthy atmosphere. However, this approach, unfortunately did not gain wide support. Throughout the entire campaign, our candidate, Vahan Hovannesian, demonstrated principled policies and approaches and sincerely presented the ARF.
The actual elections were guided by varying degrees of abuses. The leading candidates' supporters engaged in rampant, obvious and veiled bribery. In some precincts ballot stuffing and brutal force were observed. The vote counting stage was also marred by irregularities. The public has not come to the same conclusions about the results of the election, and tensions continue to mount. Our country is facing the imperative of preventing post-election polarization and reinstating the atmosphere of cooperation. In the current situation we are ready to bridge that divide.
Based on the aforementioned reasons, and having evaluated all reports from various regions, and taking into consideration the results publicized by the Central Electoral Commission, as well as the international community's basically positive evaluation, the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia does not dispute the final results of the elections and wishes the newly elected president Serzh Sarkisian the best of luck.
At the same time, we are adhering to the principles of the 2007 cooperation agreement and express the willingness to resign from government posts and are suggesting an end to the political Coalition.
Dear Compatriots, taking into consideration the imperative of stability and progress in our country, we suggest and demand:
a. Detailed and complete investigation into all voter fraud and the punishment of those responsible;

b. Condemnation of those aiming to change the government by force, as well as efforts to use force against those dissatisfied with election results;

c. Immediate steps to strengthen Armenia's credibility in the international community, by quelling the internal discord;
d. Create an electoral structure which does not allow bribery, the participation of non-political, semi-criminal elements and the use of administrative resources;
e. Guarantee expression of diverse opinions and freedom of speech in the country;
f. Within the political structure, create all mechanism for participation of opposition forces;
g. Through political discourse and national unity create such a government that is guided by professional and moral principles, in order to quickly advance the progression of democracy and socio-economic objectives;
Dear Compatriots, the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia thanks you for your unprecedented and active participation in the presidential elections.
We guarantee that we will continue to stay true to our principled positions and will continue to work and fight for the aspirations of our people, for the defense of every citizen's rights in the name of strengthening our statehood.

FILES (PDF format, texts in Armenian language)

Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 (13677 reads), comments: 0
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