RA Political Parties: Representaion in Europe
Armenia’s European Integration is a multi-dimensional process that presupposes different ways for the country’s eurointegration one of them being the political. Many Armenian political forces have started the integration into the corresponding European fractions.
For instance, Armenian National Movement (ANM) with its liberal-democratic orientation is a member of European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR). The final decision on AMN’s joining the latter political group was made during the ELDR board-members’ session in Rome on March 12, 2010.
The representatives of Armenia’s extra-parliamentary opposition of the time mentioned yet back then, “Two members of the party will thereafter take part in ELDR sessions”. As it is known, ELDR is widely represented in the European Parliament as well as in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. ELDR is comprised of 59 parties from 30 countries from all over Europe.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) party is one of the oldest Armenian parties and follows its ideology of “democratic socilaism”. 1907-1960 ARF was a member of Socialist International (SI). From 1996 it went on partaking in SI’s activities as an observer, in 1999 it received consultative status and in 2001 restored the full membership in this organization. It is worth mentioning that Giro Manoyan, the head of the Armenian Cause Office and the ARF office on political issues, considers all the other Armenian political forces as ARF’s ideological opponents as “they all are centre-right forces”.
“ARF is the only party in CIS region that is a full member of SI and who is invited to participate in the European socialists’ conferences,” Manoyan points out.
We should mention that SI is represented in the European Parliament through the Group of Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.
Armenian Heritage Party is an advocate of liberal economic and democratic governance system. Despite the party’s declared liberal-democrat ideology it is not a member of ELDR. However, Heritage party that is now in Armenian opposition is also represented in Europe: since recently the Heritage joined the European Democratic Party as an observer.
The ruling Armenian Republican Party (ARP) is more of a conservative. It is a right-wing party with national-conservative ideology. It is noteworthy that in the description of the term “national-conservativism” it is presented as a subtype of conservativism that is mostly concentrated on national interests and, as a rule, has traditional socialist and moral views.
Some experts suggest that in the context of European integration unlike the ordinary conservativism that rejects open national and extreme right-wing approach, “national conservativism” is more prone to euro-skepticism.
Many national-conservativists are social-conservativists and publicly oppose the [mass] immigration to Europe. At the same time ARP is a party that has adopted the way to European integration that includes also political cooperation between Armenia and Europe. Since 2012 ARP has joined the European Democratic Party as an observer.
The Rule of Law Party (RLP) has centrist ideology. It has also recently obtained an observer status to the European Democratic Party hence becoming the 5th Armenian party to be represented in Europe.
Armenia’s Christian Democratic Union (ACDU) although curently is not represented in the RA National Assembly, is represented in Europe. ACDU is a member of European Christian Political Movement since June 2008.