STEPANAKERT — Hrant Markarian, the long-serving top leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), has called for toppling the newly elected government of Armenia led by Nikol Pashinian in a speech delivered at the start of ARF World Congress held in Nagorno-Karabakh on Wednesday.
“There is an extremely high risk of a merger of the executive and legislative branches and a strengthening of one-man rule,” he claimed. “With their inexperience, bad governance and poor cadres, the authorities could set the country several years back from its normal development.”
He claimed that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian “doesn’t reflect the mood of the popular movement”
Dashnaktsutyun should therefore aim for removing Pashinian and his political team from power in the next general elections, added Markarian.
In the speech Markarian announced his resignation as party leader more than one month after it’s failure to win any seats in Armenia’s new parliament.
The weeklong gathering is attended by representatives of the party’s chapters in Armenia and other countries around the world having sizable Armenian communities. They are due to debate its new strategy following last spring’s “velvet revolution” that radically reshaped the Armenian political scene. The congress will also elect ARF’s new main decision-making body, the Bureau.
Markarian reportedly came under renewed fire from dissident Dashnaktsutyun figures in Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora after the party’s poor showing in last month’s snap parliamentary elections. They were said to have claimed that Dashnaktsutyun paid the price for its close ties with the former Armenian government ousted in the revolution.
Markarian blasted the “inner-party opposition” in his speech, saying that it has breached the 128-year-old party’s “traditions” and “moral concepts.” But he did not name any of his detractors.
Dashnaktsutyun joined a coalition government formed by Serzh Sarkisian immediately after he was controversially elected president in 2008. It pulled out of the government a year later in protest against Sarkisian’s policy of rapprochement with Turkey. It reached another power-sharing deal with the former president in 2016.