Homeland Salvation Movement is Not Convinced June 20 Elections Will Take Place

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ARF leader and coordinator of the Homeland Salvation Movement Ishkhan Saghatelyan speaks to reporters on Baghramyan Avenue on March 19

ARF leader and coordinator of the Homeland Salvation Movement Ishkhan Saghatelyan speaks to reporters on Baghramyan Avenue on March 19

There is no evidence that the June 20 snap parliamentary elections announced by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will take place, said Ishkhan Saghatelyan, the coordinator of the Homeland Salvation Movement and chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of Armenia during a press conference on Baghramyan Avenue on Friday.

Saghatelyan pointed out that in order for parliamentary elections to take place, first and foremost the prime minister must resign, the parliament must be dissolved and the president must announce parliamentary elections.

The Homeland Salvation Movement coordinator held the press conference to answer questions regarding the movement’s response Pashinyan’s announcement Thursday that snap parliamentary elections would take place on June 20.

Saghatelyan said that there are “sufficient reasons” that the elections will not take place, adding that Pashinyan’s announcement does not “does not instill trust in us.”

He cited Pashinyan’s continuous flip-flopping on the election matter. In December the prime minister said that there would be snap parliamentary elections, only to do a u-turn last month, when he and his My Step alliance claimed there was no public support for new polls.

“For 44 days during the war they fed us lies and falsehoods,” said Saghatelyan reinforcing the movement’s distrust over the snap elections.

Saghatelyan said that even if the snap elections take place, it will have fulfilled only one of many requisites put forth by the Homeland Salvation Movement, which has been calling for Pashinyan’s resignation and the formation of a national accord government headed by Vazgen Manukyan, the movement’s candidate.

“We find that snap parliamentary elections are a necessary condition for getting out of the current situation, but if Pashinyan continues to act as prime minister during the election cycle, there is a great risk that the elections will not be competitive and that [election participants] will not be on equal footing. And there is a great chance that such elections will be rigged. In that case, instead of becoming a way out of the current crisis, these elections may trigger a new crisis,” Saghatelyan explained.

The opposition leader said that the road map proposed by Pashinyan is the wrong course to bring the country out of the current crisis, insisiting that the road map proposed by the Homeland Salvation Movement is the best solution.

Saghatelyan said that Pashinyan’s announcement to hold snap elections was “an achievement” and the direct result of the Movement’s efforts and the pressure it and its supporters put on the authorities. He added that if Pashinyan were honest, he would resign right away. However, Saghatelyan said, Pashinyan made the announcement in order to slow down the momentum of the movement “so he can turn around and say that there is no popular demand for snap parliamentary elections.”

Of the 17 parties and organizations that make up the Homeland Salvations Movement, two parties have announced that they will take part in the June 20 elections. Gagik Tsarukyan’s Prosperous Armenia Party, which is represented in parliament and the Homeland Party, founded by former National Security Service chief Artur Vanetsyan.

“I find it very normal that Prosperous Armenia and Homeland parties have announced that they would take part in the elections organized by Pashinyan,” said Saghatelyan, emphasizing that while there are differences of approach by the various parties making up the Homeland Salvation Movement, there is 100 percent consensus that Pashinyan must resign. He explained that some in the movement believe that the fastest way to achieve Pashinyan’s ouster is by taking part in his proposed elections, and other believe that they can’t take part in elections organized by the prime minister.

“We are going to fight for the agenda that we have set forth. Even if we are left alone, we are going to fight so Pashinyan will leave as soon as possible,” said Saghatelyan referring to the ARF, which he said will make its decision about participating in the elections if the elections actually take place.

Saghatelyan vowed that the Homeland Salvation Movement will continue its civil disobedience efforts, but there may be “tactical changes” in its approach. “But at this moment to speak about snap parliamentary elections, which for all intents and purposes doesn’t exist—there’s just an announcement—would be futile,” said Saghatelyan.


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