on the silk road

Dashink Party of Armenia Merges with Ramkavar’s
November 26, 2007, 9:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

YEREVAN (ArmeniaNow)–A young national-liberal party led by a Karabakh war hero dissolved itself almost unanimously during its second and last congress at the weekend to complete a long-expected merger with the Diaspora-linked “bearer of shared ideology”. The move by the two-year-old 20,000-strong Dashink party of Nagorno-Karabakh’s ex-defense minister Samvel Babayan will thus increase more than threefold the membership of the Armenian branch of the Ramkavar-Azatakan Party, which has only about 9,000 members but boasts a history of 122 years.


Babayan, however, said the merger did not target the forthcoming presidential elections but would rather be instrumental in “rallying national-liberal forces” ahead of next parliamentary elections (due in 2012).

Addressing scores of delegates on Saturday, Babayan said: “If the national-liberal forces are to have their say in the political life of the homeland and the world-wide Diaspora, then they must put aside their ambitions and start a process of consolidation.”

“If we understand the importance of all that today, we will have a parliament representing ideological currents in the future. If we don’t, we won’t have the shortage of ‘guided’ button-pushers among us,” added Babayan, whose Dashink party failed to clear the five-percent hurdle in the May parliamentary elections.

Ramkavar-Azatakan Party of Armenia leader Harutyun Arakelyan, who also attended the Dashink congress, hailed the move and welcomed the newcomers.

He urged everyone to treat the merger “tender-heartedly”.

“We were not the only ones who have waited for this with throbbing hearts. Since the morning we’ve been receiving phone calls from the Diaspora, and they’ve also waited for this merger with heartthrobs,” Arakelyan told reporters.

The 2,000-member National Rebirth party led by Yerevan’s former mayor Albert Bazeyan, which has also been planning on a similar merger but is said to have differences on the matter inside, is due to meet on December 5 to vote on a similar decision.

Despite wielding considerable influence in the Armenian Diaspora, the Ramkavar-Azatakan Party has not had any major impact on politics in Armenia despite reestablishing its presence here after the fall of the Soviet Union.

The party plans, though, to relocate its central headquarters to Yerevan in the future, its senior member said earlier this month.

The Armenia affiliate of the traditional party has not yet expressed its support to any of the political parties or candidates that are expected to contest next year’s presidential election.

However, in an interview with RFE/RL following a historic meeting of Ramkavars with their old rival Dashnaktsutyun on November 6, Vice-Chairman of the Ramkavar-Azatakan Party Asatur Devletian did not exclude a scenario in which “the emerging cooperation with Dashnaktsutyun would lead to their support for the Dashnak candidate at the presidential election.”

“It is not ruled out, but there has been no discussion and there is no decision on that yet,” he said then.


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