GLENDALE–Armenia’s president should be the guarantor of the country’s constitutional norm, announced Armenian presidential candidate and Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau member Vahan Hovannesian during the 117th anniversary celebration of the ARF Saturday at the Glendale High School auditorium.
In his first appearance in the United States since being nominated as a presidential candidate, Hovannesian diligently outlined the challenges facing the Armenian people, in a unique interview format conducted by Seto Boyadjian.
“There are those who believe that the role of the president is to sit in the Presidential Palace and make decisions about major and minor issues; that the president is there to appoint this or that person to a ministerial post. That is not what the role of the president is,” said Hovannesian, adding “The president should directly and once and for all, guarantee the constitutional norms and structure, which means he should call all those who have fraudulently secured their desired election results and tell them we don’t need you anymore. You can go home. From now on the decisive factor in the election will be only the people’s vote.”
Hovannesian summed up the ARF’s decision to enter the presidential race with its own candidate by saying that the party has gained experience and has achieved several key objectives within the current political structure and the time was ripe for the party to participate in the presidential election with its own candidate, because it can bring guaranteed changes in the country, only in a stable situation.
He summarized by saying that the ARF will be the stabling factor in a country whose political landscape is made up of extremes where one group believes that no changes are necessary, while another–the previous regime–aims to dismantle everything.
“Only within a stable climate can the Armenian people achieve any sort of progress. The ARF’s participation in the presidential race is mandated on that premise of stability,” said Hovanessian.
Among the several topics addressed in the interview was the Nagorno-Karabakh situation and the current state of the conflict resolution process.
“The president of Armenia’should not retreat from the current successes that have shaped the Karabakh question today. For us that is very clear,” said Hovanessian, who added that he is often asked whether he would “give back” the liberated territories guarding the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is he were president.
“How can the president of Armenia talk about any compromises, when, in all these years, we have not heard what Azerbaijan is willing to concede,” said Hovannessian, who explained that ultimately the establishment of peace was of utmost importance for Armenia in the region. “You cannot ignore that you have neighbors,” added the presidential candidate.
Also speaking at the celebration was the ARF Western US Central Committee representative Nazareth Apanian who reflected on the Armenian community’s activism during the past year in support of Genocide recognition and highlighted the ARF’s successes through the leadership, guidance and activism of the Armenian National Committee of America and its regional satellites.
He pointed out that without the vigilant leadership and organization of the ANCA, the passage of the Genocide resolution by a key House committee would not have been possible. Furthermore, he added, that it was the steadfast work of the ANCA, coupled with the committed activism of the Armenian community, that made every politician recognize the Armenian Genocide in the ensuing media frenzy.
Present at the celebration were Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian; Western Primate Archbishop Honvan Derderian; representatives of all Armenian denominations; Armenia’s Consul General to Los Angeles, Armen Liloyan; ARF Bureau member Dr. Vicken Hovsepian; California State Assemblymember Paul Krikorian; Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian; as well as representatives of political parties, community organizations and the media.
The celebration began with a ceremonial flag march, following the Chamlian School choir performed the US and Armenian anthems. This was followed by the singing of the ARF anthem, “Mshag Panvor,” by Payla Keorkian.
A video chronicling the current political struggle for justice produced by the Armenian Youth Federation was featured, followed by remarks by AYF Central Executive chairperson Caspar Djiveliguian.
The conclusion of the event included performances by Armen Movsisian, the Rose and Alex Pilibos school students, Nersig Ispiryan and Anahid Khatchikian.