By Vatche Proodian
Why Vote for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF)?
Because the ARF is consistent with its views and keeps its promises.
Armenia is currently preparing for its upcoming parliamentary elections. Political parties, political movements, and well-known public figures are busy working on establishing alliances and publishing election lists.
Over the last couple of days, we have all witnessed the formation of political blocs; the rejection of political forces and individuals in joining certain alliances; constant political bargaining; and the success of some negotiations and the failure of some others.
On Feb. 15, the ARF did exactly what it had announced it would do a couple of months prior: to enter the elections independently without joining any political alliances.
During a press conference, ARF Parliamentary Faction leader and head of the party’s political affairs Armen Rustamyan and ARF Supreme Council representative Aghvan Vardanyan announced that the ARF had published the names on the party’s election list and by doing so, confirmed the ARF’s participation in the elections as an independent party.
“A New Beginning, a Just Armenia” was also announced to be the ARF’s campaign slogan.
What does a “new beginning” look like? For the first time since its independence, Armenia’s presidential system of government is changing into a parliamentary one. A new and important beginning for the country’s political system
From the Very Beginning…
The ARF played a central role in the creation and founding of the First Republic of Armenia in 1918. The governing system of that republic was also parliamentary model rather than a presidential one. For the ARF, the parliamentary system of governance is an invariable principle. It was the case in 1918, it was the case after regained independence in 1991, and it is the case today.
Back in 1995, when the issue of Armenia’s constitution was put on the country’s political agenda, the ARF insisted on a parliamentary system of government and underlined all of its advantages. Unfortunately, the system was not adopted and since then, the country has been governed by an individual—the President of Armenia.
The ARF did, however, continue to press for the adoption of a parliamentary system, believing that it was a necessary change for Armenia. The ARF worked and fought in that direction, to show that the presidential system had many flaws and was bound to become obsolete.
The legitimacy of the ARF was proven in the years that followed. Armenia’s external vulnerability and its internal socio-economic problems justified the ARF’s position.
The ARF’s efforts to achieve this systemic change came to fruition following the recent adoption of constitutional reforms, and now, this election will serve as the basis for a new system of government.
“For years now, we have been working on our plans to instill change into this country…and the results of the election should give us the necessary conditions to move forward. The elections will be the main factor that will help us achieve our goals,” Rustamyan said during the Feb. 15 press conference.
In 2018, once President Serge Sarkisian completes his term, the parliament will be the executive authority that will lead the country. All of this is largely thanks to the efforts of the ARF. The same ARF, that has only five members in the current parliament.
Rustamyan stressed that under the existing system, both people and the government have changed. “The quality of the government, though, has not changed. By saying ‘a new beginning,’ we understand and expect that a new quality of government must be introduced, so that we can solve our many problems… That is why we must have a presence in the National Assembly, so our work is done efficiently without restraint. This is the general plan which must be carried out by the ARF.”
And all this is thanks to the fact that the ARF, through its conviction, has remained loyal to their principles and have actively pursued them. The “new beginning” is the ARF’s call for a new beginning, to which the party is wholeheartedly committed.
“A Just Armenia”
Poor systems of government are born through injustice. And injustice is the mother of all evil.
Is it necessary to remind everyone about how much discontent exists among Armenians regarding the socio-economic problems that exist in Armenia?
This discontent is a result of injustice.
Inequity exists within the economic sector, in which monopolies prevent development, poverty reduction, a fair distribution of income, and the formation of a strong middle class.
The unfair environment that has been created in Armenia leads to the new generation’s negative outlook on the future of the country, which only leads to further emigration.
The ARF election platform will be published soon and will surely include a socialist approach to finding solutions to the country’s socio-economic problems, just like ARF platforms in previous elections.
We remain loyal to these principles. The ARF believes that socialism is the only way to create a just society and eradicate the abuse and exploitation that hurts our country.
A just society will lead to an independent citizen, and only an independent citizen can be fully committed to his or her homeland.
There is no doubt that the Armenian people long for fundamental changes in Armenia. The ARF has proved—time and time again—that it is committed to these fundamental changes.
And this, therefore, is the fundamental reason is why the people should vote for the ARF.
This piece was originally written in Armenian and translated by the Armenian Weekly.