YEREVAN (Azg) – The Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADL) commemorated the 95th anniversary of its founding. The date coincided with the 25th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Armenia, and this is symbolic because the ADL structures of the diaspora have decided to move the party’s center to Armenia. This decision was taken by the representatives ADL Reform and Unity Movement and reconfirmed at the second (23rd) ADL Representative Assembly in Yerevan.
During the first week of October the third (24th) extraordinary ADL Representative Assembly of the Republic of Armenia took place. It not only buttressed the arrangements to create the party center in Armenia, but also accepted the report of the ADL Republican party executive and executed changes in the bylaws and structure of the party in order to bring the ADL’s activities into conformity with the legislation of the Republic of Armenia. It elected a new leadership, and defined the actions of the party in the near future in accordance with the new structure.
Two days of vigorous discussions preceded the assembly. On October 7, Hovik Ohanyan and Kevork Marashlian were elected as chairman and vice chairman of the assembly, and 117 out of 144 delegates participated and voted on the decisions taken.
The attitude already manifested in the words of greeting from Edmond Y. Azadian, vice chairman of the Reform and Unity Movement was dominant throughout the sessions. He spoke of the historical past of the party, pointing out the necessity of not only stressing successes, but of conducting self-criticism. Pointing out mistakes should not be an occasion for discouragement but on the contrary for overcoming challenges.
He said, “Let us once more gain mastery over what we are worthy of, and return to the upper ranks of authority.” Aside from this, the diaspora structures of the ADL must now act in the status of landlords as opposed to guests while in Armenia. Some of the diasporan structures approach the decision to be headquartered in Armenia with understanding, and make various compromises, though, as Azadian said, resolutely.
Hagop Avedikian, the chairman of the ADL executive committee of the Republic of Armenia, prepared his report in three parts—achievements, deficiencies, and what to do in the future. Among the achievements were the election of 10 out of 11 ADL candidates in the recent elections of local self-government bodies to various community councils of Yeghvard, Sevan, Yeghegnadzor, Sisian, Vardenis, Vanadzor, Spitak, and Shirak. In this way, after not participating in elections at various levels for a long time, the party solved the matter of self-confidence and self-affirmation, especially considering that the majority of those elected are young party members looking toward the future. Avedikian read the names of those elected and invited them to the podium in order to receive applause.
The fundamental renovation of the party’s central office is another success, as well as the establishment of an office in Gyumri. The renovation of the Yeghvard office immediately provided practical results, as three members became members of the Yghvard council. The ADL office in Vanadzor on Tigran the Great Boulevard was renovated and a park opened. This was another successful enterprise. The work of the ADL Republican executive has been dynamic. Once a week, sometimes more, they meet and solve issues. Vice chairman Karen Kakoyan’s work in particular was pointed out. Three important books have been issued at the initiative of the party for those interested in politics, the works of Nikolay Hovhannisyan, Suren Sargsyan and Armen Manvelyan. The Tekeyan Cultural Association of the US and Canada’s structures in Armenia, represented by Gayane Muradyan, did worthy work, especially in providing financial and psychological aid to the families of soldiers fallen victim of the April war. These efforts continue.
Avedikian expressed his gratitude to all the ADL benefactors who have made these projects possible. For example, Sargis Khachaturyan’s donations made possible the Yeghvard office. Nazar Nazarian and his wife Artemis of New Jersey made the renovation of the central office possible, through the intercession of Edmond Azadian and Hagop Vartivarian.
The participation of the ADL in the forthcoming parliamentary elections was the first and main priority for the future, and every effort must be made there. Avedikian declared, “Only a chair in the parliament gives weight to any political party, whereas a 95-year-old party does not have the right not to be present there.” He called for being more enterprising for this goal. He spoke about the removal of those obstacles created by our legislation for the party to become headquartered in Armenia. According to the law on political parties, the Republican executive of the ADL must be transformed into a central executive, whose members must be citizens of Armenia, whereas in order to include a governing body representing diasporan structures, it is necessary to create a Supreme Council. The executive may have up to 25 members, and the Supreme Council only 17.
ADL lawyer Tigran Harutyunyan spoke more in detail about this restructuring. The Republican executive, consequently, will be renamed the ADL Central Executive, while the newly created body will be called the Supreme Council. The convention of deputies will be called the General Representative Assembly, and would be convened once every two years. It would elect a new governing body for the same period of time and confirm its plan. The first year will be an exception, as it will be a trial period to demonstrate to the Armenian government its work.
Vice chairman Armen Manvelyan expressed some ideas about the domestic and regional role of the representative assembly in his speech. He reflected on the situation of the Syrian Armenians and of the city of Aleppo, and stressed the firm will of the ADL to help the government organize, if desired, the extrication of the remaining Armenians there.
The election of ADL Central Executive and Supreme Council members took place. Hagop Avedikian was elected president of the ADL Central Executive, while Vartan Nazerian was elected president of the Supreme Council. The one-month deadline provided for by the legislation on political parties in Armenia for the final formation of the members of the Supreme Council allows the possibility to fully overcome disagreements of various diasporan structures or individuals, though the names already were announced on the day of the assembly, and the list had won the unanimous consent of the representatives present. Other members of the Central Executive include Vartan Nazerian, Karen Kakoyan, Armen Manvelyan, Suren Sargsyan, Mesrop Harutyunyan, Hrach Karapetyan, Hovik Ohanyan (to whom was given the responsibility of reorganizing and strengthening the Yerevan ADL structure), Artavazd Melkisetyan, Gevorg Halebyan, Harut Yerkanyan, Nshan Barutjian, Alik Avetyan, Norayr Khalafyan, Levon Avagyan, Davit Davtyan, Varazdat Avoyan, Seyran Gharibyan and Gayane Muradyan. There are also deputy members—Tigran Harutyunyan, Artyom Davtyan, Tigran Harutyunyan and three others from the diaspora.
The ADL, now headquartered in Armenia, with a new bylaws and structure, in the forthcoming month will synthesize the programs of the diaspora and Armenia and set to work to realize its ambitious plans for the future.
* * *
During the evening of that same day, in Opera’s packed hall, after the speech of Vartan Nazerian, president of the ADL Supreme Council (see text elsewhere in this issue of the Mirror), a magnificent concert took place dedicated to the 95th anniversary of the founding of the party. Jewels of Armenian national dance were presented one after the other. The end of the concert was moving when the symphonic orchestra of the Opera and its choir performed the march “Zinvor enk ramgavar yev azad [We are soldiers, democratic and free]” and ten youths ascended the stage, waving in the air ADL flags together with the Armenian tricolor.
An ADL woman from the diaspora concluded the festive occasion with the words, “I have never been so proud in my life of being an ADLer.”
(Translated from the Armenian)