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May 25 2018 | 7:05am AET

ARF Western US Statement on Protests in Armenia

Source: Asbarez | Friday, 20 April 2018
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For the past several days, a significant sector of the population in Yerevan has resorted to protests and other civil disobedience measures demanding that the election of Armenia’s former president Serzh Sarkisian as prime minister be nullified.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation believes that it is our people’s inalienable constitutional right to free speech and assembly and to stive for social justice. Hence, the current protests, as long as they are taking place within the confines of the law, are the legal and moral right of the protesters.

It is our conviction that Armenia’s prosperous future lies with the hopes placed on our youth and students. It is also our belief that every step must be taken to avoid bloodshed in the process of resolving issues.

The peaceful and legal transition of power determined by the Constitution is a tenet of complete democracy. Last week, we witnessed the peaceful and lawful transition from a presidential to a parliamentary system of government.

The same tenets must apply to the transition of prime minister’s powers within the new system of government. There can be no objection to this process, and the protesters in Yerevan are also not objecting to the process. It seems their opposition is to the newly appointed prime minister.

According to the Constitution, the party that holds a majority in parliament has the right to nominate a prime minister candidate.

Hence, the protesters and all political forces today are faced with the imperative for solution that is acceptable by all. This solution cannot circumvent the country’s constitutional order, but rather, based on the provisions of the constitution, a proper solution must be derived, in order to benefit the people and the homeland. In the quest to find an acceptable solution, on the one hand, the leaders of the protest and on the other the appointed prime minister and his party have come to an impasse, which demands from each side understanding and political maturity.

As always, our party can only support an equitable outcome where the concept of the state is paramount and the situation is properly untangled.

Thus, we call on our compatriots and organizations in our community to work together and, through political maturity and for the sake of our statehood, maintain our unity and confidence, in order for our homeland and our people to emerge victorious from this crisis.