YEREVAN (Armenpress–Noyan Tapan–Yerkir)–Having presented its list of candidates for the upcoming Armenian National Assembly (NA) parliamentary elections to the Central Election Commission on Sunday–the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) held a news conference on Monday to announce its list of 101 candidates composed of 71 ARF members–2 members of Pan-Armenian Worker’ Party–and 28 non-partisans.
According to guidelines–25 percent of the candidates are women. Twenty-five individuals are from regions outside of Yerevan.
All individuals included in the list are university graduates; 23 hold PhD degrees–and one is member of Academy of Sciences. Forty-seven of the candidates are civil servants or work for the government. The list includes 27 teachers–6 heathcare system employees–13 business people.
The average age of candidates is 48–the oldest is 70 years old–the youngest is 26. The full ARF list will be published in the March 22 issue of Asbarez; the following are a few names included in the list:
Vahan Hovanissian–46–PhD–ARF Bureau member–ARF Parliamentary faction member–Chairman of Defense–National Security and Internal Affairs Permanent Committee of Armenian Parliament; Armen Rustamian–43–ARF Supreme Body representative–ARF Parliamentary faction member–Vice-Chairman of Foreign Relations Committee of Armenian parliament; Artashes Tumanian–53–PhD–independent–Chief of Staff of the president of Armenia; David Lokian–45–PhD–ARF–Minister of Urban Development; Alvard Petrossian–62–ARF–current member of parliament; Aghvan Vartanian–44–ARF Supreme Body member–ARF parliamentary faction leader; Levon Mkrtchian–38–ARF–PhD–Minister of Education and Science; Armenouhi Petrossian–42–independent–president of Grand Candy LLC;Rubik Hakopian–ARF–47–Consul General of Armenia in Saint Petersburg; Kim Balayan–55–ARF–ARF parliamentary faction member; Marat Grigorian–63–ARF–PhD–Chief of Geology Faculty–Yerevan State University; Rafik Mkhitarian–57–independent–Advisor to Speaker of Parliament
"This is not just a list of names. This list is based on ARF policy of choosing people for public offices," said ARF Supreme Body member and NA deputy Armen Rustamian. He added that the list is in some respects different than the one presented during previous elections.
The list includes well-known politicians–businessmen–leaders of non-governmental organizations as well as non-partisans. Women comprise the 25 percent of the list.
ARF has nominated 30 candidates for the single-mandate constituencies.
ARF will run for the parliament independently (no blocs) but will closely cooperate with the Hai Askhadavor (Armenian Worker) NGO.
Commenting on the diversity of individuals on the list–ARF Bureau member and chairman of the NA Defense National Security and Internal Affairs Committee Vahan Hovhannisian said: "The businessmen included in the list–are mostly managers–or individuals with degrees in law who will be very helpful in the parliament to find solutions to economic issues Armenia faces."
Armen Rustamian–in turn–noted that the party is going to carry out its programs not only through its members–but will also "have a large group of supporters which has been growing in the past years."
Commenting on the notion that the opposition has united for the upcoming parliamentary election–Rustamian pointing out that many opposition parties have entered the race separately.
Although pro-Kocharian parties supported Kocharian jointly during presidential elections–the parties hold varying approaches that is also useful during parliamentary debates concerning various issues.
The ARF expressed confidence in the ability to take a significant number of seats in the parliament to gain responsibility both in the legislative and executive branches of the government.
Current Presidential Chief of Staff Artashes Tumanian–also running on the ARF ticket–denied on Monday speculation that his involvement in the electoral race is part of his broader efforts to get a more high-ranking government post such as prime ministership. He said he has not discussed such issues with the ARF.
Below is the list of 18 political parties and 6 blocs that have registered candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections. Number of canidates are noted.
1. Armenian Revolutionary Federation 101 candidates
2. United Working Party 40
3. Reformed Communist Party of Armenia 40
4. National Unity 77
5. People’s Party 18
6. Liberal Democratic Party of Armenia – Ramgavar 60
7. Bagrevand 30
8. Work–Law–Unity 13
9. Communist Party of Armenia 39
10 Christian Democratic Union of Armenia 33
11. Hay Arineri Bruntsk (Fist of the Armenian Brave) 19
12. Orinats Yerkir (Country of Laws) 63
13. Liberal Democratic Party of Armenia 70
14. Justice 10
15. Republican Party of Armenia 120
16. National Accord Party 13
17. Armenian Nation-wide Movement 41
18. Hzor Hayrenik (Mighty Homeland) 75