Party convention parades: Armenia’s new formula and EU stars

Party convention parades: Armenia’s new formula and EU stars


Ahead of the 2012 parliamentary elections, the opposition Heritage party and pro-government Orinats Yerkir party held their conventions late last week to define their priorities, in particular, on where Armenia should be moving politically – to the West or to the North.

At the 7th Congress of the Heritage party, chairman of its board, independent Armenia’s first foreign minister Raffi Hovannisian said that the current situation presupposes the “change of power as an imperative.”

The final resolution of the Congress, which is called “Resolution For A New Armenia” noted that “people so far have not been a real source of power, and in fact the formed government was not accountable to it”. It said that the distribution of national wealth and resources of the country have been untargeted, without regard to the rights and status of thousands of real people and families.

“As an advocate of normalizing relations with Turkey, the party considers it unacceptable the recognition by Armenia with any act or document the illegal Bolshevik-Turkish treaty of 1921, acceptance of any obligations arising from them, acceptance of any preconditions in the Armenian-Turkish protocols,” the resolution says. In fact, the party calls against recognizing the current Armenian-Turkish border. Besides, Heritage calls for the formal recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence within its present borders.

But most interestingly, being a support of friendly relations with Russia, the party considers unreasonable the premature extension of the agreement on the deployment of Russia’s military base in Armenia, as well as considers it unacceptable that Armenia participate in any initiatives of Russia on the unification of the former Soviet Republics at the expense of its sovereignty. In other words, the party calls against joining the emerging Eurasian Union, which is being initiated by Russia’s President-elect Vladimir Putin.

There is no debate in Armenia yet on whether the country should join this emerging Union or not, although it implies a sharp change of the current declared pro-European orientation of the country. Despite the fact that Armenia continues to actively negotiate with the European Union on association and free trade zone agreements, the governing parties have not yet said that it runs counter to the possible Eurasian Union direction. On the contrary, President Serzh Sargsyan last week attended the presentation of a book by his former opponent Artashes Geghamyan – “The Eurasian Union is the Future of Armenia”.

The Orinats Yerkir party, which is a member of the three-party governing coalition, said at its 10th Congress on Saturday that it rather espoused the European way of development. The party changed its logo, adding EU stars to it.

“The Orinats Yerkir party will continue the process of strengthening European democratic values in Armenia, will continue to fight for the conduct of reforms in the country, considering protecting the rights and freedoms of every citizen to be the primary purpose of them, will take active steps towards the formation of a socially oriented market economy, rule of law,” the party’s final resolution said.

The congress of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia will be held March 10, followed by the convention of the other coalition party, Prosperous Armenia, on March 17. The other parliamentary opposition party, Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) is not expected to hold its congress before the May parliamentary elections.