At a special convention held over the weekend, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation of Artsakh decided that the party will take part in the upcoming 2020 Artsakh presidential elections with its own candidate, naming the current chairman of the Artsakh ARF Central Committee, Davit Ishkhanyan, as its candidate.
The special ARF Artsakh Convention heard a detailed report of the ARF CC’s efforts to meet with every candidate and political party in order to put forth a consensus candidate. The convention decided that the outcome of the lengthy talks determined that the best course for the party would be to participate in the presidential election with its own candidate. The convention also decided that the ARF would take part in the upcoming parliamentary elections with its own slate of candidates. Both elections are scheduled to take place simultaneously in March.
In an interview with Yerkir.am, Ishkhanyan laid out some of his and the ARF’s priorities, which include instituting reforms to the Artsakh constitution adopted in 2017 and concentrates power on the office of the president. Ishkhanyan explained that the party believes that such a concentration does not ensure a practical system of government and advocated for distinct separate of powers, which will allow the legislature as well as the local government structures to operate as independent elected entities.
Furthermore, Ishkhanyan prioritized the strengthening of the Armenia-Artsakh Strategic Cooperation agreement. He also advanced the notion of the “Nation-Army” concept, which has been discussed by the party since 1990s, according to him, but concrete steps to strengthen that dynamic have not been put in place.
He expanded on the ARF’s efforts to prior to this weekend’s convention to initiate a consensus candidate, but revealed that certain nuances brought the party to the conclusion to run in the upcoming elections with its own slate of candidates both for the presidential and parliamentary elections.
In addition to chairing the Artsakh Central Committee, Ishkhanyan is also a member of parliament, where he has headed the ARF legislative bloc from 2015 to 2017, as well as a member of the parliament’s permanent commission on finance, budget and economy.
Ishkhanyan was born on December 27, 1968 in the Ashan Village of the Artsakh’s Martuni Province. After receiving his primary and secondary education in his village, Ishkhanyan attended the Stepanakert Pedagogy Institute’s history and social studies department.
From 1995 to 2000, Ishkhanyan served as principal of the Ashan middle school. From 2000 to 2005 he was the head of the Ashan village.
Ishkhanyan has had a storied role in the Artsakh Liberation Movement, enlisting in its volunteer self-defense unit soon after completing his service in the Soviet Army. He was a commander of a battalion of the Nargorno-Karabakh Defense Army from 1992 to 1994. He has earned the First Class Military Cross honor in 2012 and in 2018 was awarded the coveted Mkhitar Gosh medal by the president of Artsakh.
While he is currently an active member of Artsakh’s parliament, he got his start in politics in 1991 when he was elected to the first Supreme Council of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic from the Bertashen regopn.
He is married and has three children.