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This article is about the party established in 1885.
For party established in the 1990s in Armenia, see Democratic Liberal Party of Armenia
For party established in 2009 in Armenia, see Armenakan-Democratic Liberal Party
Armenian Democratic
Liberal Party
Ramgavar Azatakan Kusaktsutyun

  Ռամկավար Ազատական Կուսակցություն  
Leader Mike Kharabian
Founder Mekertich Portukalian
Founded 1885[1]
Ideology Liberalism
International affiliation ?
Official colors Blue

The Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Armenian: Ռամկավար Ազատական Կուսակցություն ) or the Ramgavar Party, (before 1921 known as the Armenakan party)(Armenian: Արմենական կուսակցություն), also known by its Armenian initials (Armenian: ՌԱԿ ) or its English initials ADL (meaning Armenian Democratic Liberal) is an Armenian political party in Armenia and the Armenian diaspora including the Middle East, Europe, the Americas and Australia.

It was established in the Ottoman Empire by Mekertich Portukalian in Van in 1885. The Armenakan party was one of the first parties that was established in the Ottoman Empire by Armenians. At the Armenian parliamentary elections on 25 May 2003, the party won 2.9 % of popular votes and no seats.


History: Armenakan Party

The Armenakan party was established in Van by Mekertich Portukalian in 1885. It was classified as a party based on the fact that it developed a platform, a central body, and an official publication.

The founder of the Armenakan party, Mekertich Portukalian (from Marseilles) kept in touch with the leaders, and published a journal of political and social enlightenment, "The Armenia". Portukalian is also cited as the father of the Armenian Patriotic Society of Europe.

After Mekertich Portukalian, the Armenians of Van continued to develop the political principles behind Armenian nationalism, in secrecy. The party's aim soon became to win for the Armenians the right to rule over themselves through revolution. The party's view on how to liberate Armenia from the Ottoman Empire was through armed struggle. Its concept of revolution was distinctly low-keyed, compared with that of succeeding organisations; terror, agitation and militant demonstrations were viewed with disfavour. They wanted to use trained Armenians with arms, as guerrilla fighters, against the Ottoman Empire.

The party's main misconception was that enemies of the Ottoman Empire would intervene and rescue the Armenian people throughout the period 1885–1918. With the turn of the century, Armenakans had cells outside Van, in other towns in the province, as well as in Trabzon and Istanbul. The military structure was developed in Russian Transcaucasia, in Persia and in the United States.


Activities in the Ottoman Empire

Change of Name: Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADL)

In 1921 three groupings, namely the Armenakans, reformed factions splitting from the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party and the "Sahmanadir Ramgavars" (Constitutional Democrats) joined forces to form together the Democratic Liberal Party (also known as (Armenian: Ռամկավար Ազատական Կուսակցություն (ՌԱԿ) ) (English: Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADL)) or Ramgavar Party). The majority of the membership of the Armenakan Party was absorbed into the new party.


The Ramgavar party advocates liberalism and capitalism, unlike the other two classical Armenian political parties, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun), and Social Democrat Hunchakian Party, which both have leftist ideology.

Modern politics

ADL Media

Armenian Democratic Liberal Party has long-established media in the Armenian diaspora as well as in the Republic of Armenia.

As a result of the rift in the party, some party organs have started actively supporting the rival Armenakan-Democratic Liberal Party and the latter's policies, most notably Azg in Armenia, Armenian Mirror-Spectator in the United States and Abaka in Canada.

ADL and the Lebanese Elections

The Ramgavar party has long been the smallest of the ethnic Armenian parties in Lebanon. It won its first-ever parliamentary seat in 2000, as an ally to Rafik Hariri's Future Movement. The MP and party's leader in Lebanon Hagop Kassarjian was re-elected in 2005 elections as part of March 14 Alliance. The official MP of the party in the Lebanese Parliament after the 2009 elections is Jean Ogassapian as part of the same March 14 Alliance, although he is not a card-holding member of the party.

Rift in party and position regarding Armenakan-Democratic Liberal Party

A major rift developed in the traditional Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADL) with a significant number of its members favouring the newly established Armenakan-Democratic Liberal Party (Armenian: Արմենական -Ռամկավար Ազատական Կուսակցություն ) generally considered an off-shoot of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Armenian: Ռամկավար Ազատական Կուսակցություն ), but not officially recognized by the current (diaspora) leadership of the ADL. Armenakan-Democratic Liberal Party also decided to move its main office to Yerevan, Armenia, another move not approved by the current leadership of the ADL.

There are also great differences about the ownership and policies of the traditional Armenia and Diaspora media of the ADL, some of which have declared their affiliation with the new Armenakan entity, rather than the line of the current traditional leadership, whereas other paty media stuck to the official party line.

The Central Executive of ADL chaired by Mike Kharabian, and in Armenia the Democratic Liberal Party of Armenia (ADLA) chaired by Harutiun Arakelian have both expressed clear opposition and blamed the new entity of trying to divide the party.[2] In 2008 three parties in Armenia, the National Rebirth, Dashink, and Liberal Progressive Parties dissolved into the ADLA. The last assembly of the official Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADL) took place in Spring 2009 in Amman, Jordan.

Harutiun Arakelian of the Democratic Liberal Party of Armenia (ADLA) has also declared that the party will challenge the adoption of the name of the new party once the latter applies for registration, due to the similarity of the names and ADLA will demand that the new party adopts a different and more distinctive name to alleviate any confusion with the ADL / ADLA.


  1. ^ The Ramagavar party was originally founded under the name "Armenakan party" in 1885. This name was used until 1921, when the party renamed itself to Ramgavar.
  2. ^ "Armenian Reporter" on the position of ADL and ADLA

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