Deputy Parliamentary Speaker,
Senior member of Armenian Revolutionary Federation - Dashnaktsutiun
An historian and archeologist by education, 51-year-old Hovhannisian has been with the nationalist Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun) since it first began to regain ascendancy in Armenian politics at the end of the Soviet era. First elected to parliament in 1999, he served as the chairman of the Committee of Defense, National Security and Internal Affairs. Since 2003, he has acted as deputy parliamentary speaker.
Hovhannisian retained this post after the May 2007 parliamentary elections; the party, popularly known as the Dashnaks, gained 13 percent of the vote, and signed a collaboration agreement with Armenia's governing coalition. The party, however, has stood by its pledge that joining the coalition would not mean that they would support the ruling Republican Party of Armenia's presidential candidate (at the time assumed to be Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian).
Unlike other candidates, Hovhannisian's campaign benefits from one of Armenia's best organized party structures.
Although many of its campaign features have varied little since 1991, the party has introduced some new techniques into the 2008 campaign. In November 2007, party members took part in a take-off on an election primary and chose between Hovhannesian and Armen Rusamian, chairman of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, for the Dashnak nomination for president.
Hovhannisian has also issued "contracts" for voters that oblige him to keep his election promises. As of early February, the party claimed that more than 170,000 people had signed the forms.
While Hovhannisian's party is part of Armenia's ruling coalition, his speeches often echo issues heard in those of opposition candidates: the need for a more equal distribution of public wealth and calls for voters not to sell their votes, despite pressure from officials or local power clans. He has also called for stimulation of small businesses and industry, and decreasing the differences in living standards between Yerevan and the regions.
"No to the past, no to the present. The future is with Vahan!"
30 Hanrapetutian St.