By Hrach Melkumian
Armenia’s leading opposition parties are considering adopting a joint declaration that may demand President Robert Kocharian’s resignation and place them one step closer to setting up a new anti-presidential alliance.
Sources in the People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK) and the Hanrapetutyun (Republic) and National Accord parties told RFE/RL on Thursday that their leaders are now discussing the content of their upcoming statement and the possibility of a “united front” against Kocharian. No other details are known yet.
“We believe that besides assessing the situation we should suggest a way out,” said a senior member of Hanrapetutyun, Suren Sureniants. “The way out is the president’s resignation.”
Hanrapetutyun is led by former prime minister Aram Sarkisian who was sacked by Kocharian in May last year after his defeat in a seven-month power struggle. Sarkisian and his allies, many of them from the Yerkrapah Union of Karabakh war veterans, formed the party earlier this year after splitting from the Republican Party of the current premier, Andranik Markarian.
The outspoken leader of the National Accord party, Artashes Geghamian, is believed to be one of the most ardent proponents of the new opposition bloc. Geghamian is increasingly critical of Kocharian’s policies.
The success of the ongoing talks depends on the position of the HZhK, the largest and most popular of the three parties. The center-left party led by Stepan Demirchian moved closer to the opposition earlier this week after announcing the break-up of its Miasnutyun alliance with the Republicans. It demanded fresh parliamentary elections, saying that the current parliament is no longer legitimate.
Demirchian has until now ruled out the possibility of the HZhK joining other alliances any time soon.