On June 6, the ARF concluded its 15th Supreme Assembly in Armenia. The assembly and the newly-elected governing body of the party have made no qualms about the need for fundamental change in the government and society of Armenia.
It is clear that the ARF is increasingly emphasizing internal socio-economic issues and pointing to the need for a bottom-up movement in the country.
In a recent interview with Lragir.am, ARF Supreme Council member and National Assembly Parliamentarian Ara Nranyan stated:
“People need to understand that they must struggle for their rights. If everybody sits alone in their houses, no political force–not even the ARF–can solely secure for them higher wages, higher pensions, and so on. In other words, it is necessary for citizens to struggle collectively around socio-economic issues. In the forthcoming period, we are putting our emphasis on raising the level of activism among the public.”
When asked why the ARF, unlike the non-parliamentary opposition of Levon Ter-Petrosian, is not calling for the resignation of Serj Sargsyan, Nranyan responded by explaining:
“Those who think that the President will simply resign due to the announcement of one or two political forces can by no means be serious. The ARF, as a serious political party, is not interested in carrying out empty steps that will not have any effect. That same resignation and regime change you refer to needs to be prepared through actual work. We do not want to come out with some statement that we are not in a position to immediately put into reality, but that also does not mean that we will not go in that direction. Our emphasis is on changing the public atmosphere. If the public realizes that this government is incapable of solving the challenges facing the nation, than the large majority of citizens would not accept bribes for their votes. If the public sees that there is a genuine alternative, then by refusing a bribe of 5000 dram for his vote they will help ensure real change and secure a brighter future for themselves and their children. The truth is, the grassroots organizing of the public in this manner has not yet been completely carried out, neither by us nor the non-parliamentary opposition.”
On the final question of whether or not the ARF would try to bring people out into the streets, Nranyan states:
“Right now, we will be actively working on organizing the public and working with representatives from different segments and spheres. We will be working not only in the capital but also in the marzes. As for your question, we do not rule out that possibility.”