YEREVAN—Thousands of Armenian voters turned out on April 10 at Liberty Square for an election rally to kick off the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s parliamentary election campaign.
With a pledge to return power to the people and a comprehensive regime change, the ARF held its election rally one day after unveiling its election platform to reporters at a gathering held at Erebouni Hotel.
“We are not here to claim power by force or to buy it with bribes like others do,” said ARF parliamentary bloc chairman and Bureau member Vahan Hovanessian. “We are not here to beg for power. We are here to take what belongs to us based on the Constitution. We want to return the power to you—the people.”
Saying that international experts had praised the ARF’s election platform, Hovanessian proclaimed: “This is it, the real revolutionary spirit. If we manage to make it a part of our lives with your help, then not only the coming generation but you too will witness the revolution.”
Hovannesian also emphasized the need for voters to band together and not allow “corrupt individuals and thieves” from becoming members of parliament.
“Now that we are strong,” he said “will we allow a corrupt individual to enter the parliament? No. Will we allow thieves to again sit in parliament? No.”
Dismissing pledges by the ruling Republican Party of Armenia of sweeping changes in the country, the leaders of the ARF speaking at the party delineated the poor socio-economic conditions plaguing Armenia, mass exodus, social injustice and the current regime’s inability to resolve the country’s problems as a wakeup call for change.
One of the proposals set forth by the ARF is a switch from a presidential system of government to that of a parliamentary system. It is through such drastic reform that the ARF is hoping for what it calls “comprehensive regime change” in the country that “serves the people.”
“This is a government that until now was saying that everything is alright in our country and bragged about its achievements. Now when they say ‘let’s change to believe’ that sounds pathetic,” ARF parliamentary bloc member and representative of the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia Armen Rustamian declared in reference to the Republican Party’s campaign slogan.
“Because, if things are fine, what should we change? If things are bad, however, why shouldn’t we change them? And this is what we must do together,” said Rustamian adding that “It would be meaningless to expect anything serious without” a comprehensive regime change.
Campaigning under the banner of “Liberty. Justice. The ARF,” the party unveiled its slate of 85 candidates for the proportional ballot and another list of names who will be competing on the single-mandate slate during the upcoming May 6 parliamentary elections.
The ARF also unveiled its election platform, which calls for drastic reforms in domestic and foreign policy, including the need to reform economic structures in a manner that guarantees tangible living wages for the population and protects the country from corruption and ensures social justice.