By Margaret Yesayan and Armen Zakarian
Speaking to RFE/RL's Armenian Service in Yerevan today, the leaders of the opposition parties Stepan Demirchian (HZhK), Aram Sarkisian (Hanrapetutyun), the deputy Chairman of the National Unity Party Alexan Karapetian and the Secretary of the Armenian Communist party Khoren Sarkissian said that there is good cooperation among opposition parties, whose main goal is to impeach President Robert Kocharian.
The leader of the People's Party of Armenia (HZhK) Stepan Demirchian said that his party is cooperating with others, including "Hanrapetutyun" (Republic) and "National Unity". However it is too early to talk about the creation of a coalition of opposition forces. Stepan Demirchian, whose father Karen Demirchian was killed by gunmen in the October 1999 terrorist attack on the Parliament, had no clear answer whether he is in talks with the former ruling Party HHSh. Some Armenian newspapers reported that former Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossian is behind the creation of an anti-Kocharian opposition coalition.
The other opposition leader, former Prime Minister Aram Sarkissian, who is a member of political council of the newly created opposition party "Hanrapetutyun", also considers the creation of an opposition coalition premature. "There are still some issues that have to be addressed. The party has to convene its congress and to prepare its platform," the leading member of "Hanrapetutyun" party said. "Hanrapetutyun" is cooperating with anti-presidential opposition, including with Ashot Manucharian [a pro-Russian politician] and with "Officers' Honor" which has about 200 members, mainly retired officers and Karabakh war veterans. The opposition parties already had ten meetings and the main topic of discussion was how to topple the government. "The main goal of our cooperation is to change the regime," said Aram Sarkissian, the brother of the slain Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkissian.
The other partner in the anti-presidential opposition grouping, the Communist party believes the toppling of the president should not be the sole mission of the future coalition. "We should also outline our program on how to pull-out the country from crises," said the secretary of the communist party central committee, Khoren Sarkissian. The partners in the anti-government grouping have some reservations about the communists and are cautious in dealing with them, because communist party is mainly focused on the issue of Armenia joining the Russia-Belarus Union.
Evaluating the situation in the parliament and the political infighting in the ruling faction "Miasnutyun", Aram Sarkissian said the split and the collapse of the faction, that was created by his brother Vazgen Sarkissian, was one of the goals of the organizers and executors of the October 27 terrorist act . The collapse of the "Miasnutyun" was also the result of the ambitions of some politicians, Aram Sarkissian said, adding that he can't explain also what is happening in other parties.
The leader of "Miasnutyun" Galust Sahakian disagreed with Sarkissian. He said that the coalition of the two parties in Miasnutyun de facto ceased to exist, because one member in the faction "HZhK" is now in the opposition, while the other party "Hanrapetakan" is supporting the government. However, "Miasnutyun" will survive, because there are enough defectors from the "HZhK" to enable "Miasnutyun" to function as a majority in Parliament.
Before the current parliamentary recess, nine Deputies, including Deputy speaker of the Parliament Gagik Aslanian, have left "HZhK", protesting against the new policy of the leadership to join anti-Kocharian opposition.