By Ruzanna Khachatrian
The Armenian Communist Party (HKK) and three small left-wing parties joined forces on Wednesday to form a new political alliance in the hope of furthering their similar political agendas.
Leaders of the new opposition bloc, named Socialist Armenia, said they will put forward a single list of candidates for the next parliamentary elections due in 2003.
One of the parties making up the bloc is led by Ashot Manucharian, a hot-headed pro-Russian politician and one of President Robert Kocharian’s bitter critics. His decision to side with the Communists came as a surprise to most local analysts.
His repeated attempts to mobilize a mass movement against the current authorities have been viewed with suspicion by the Communists until now. Manucharian was not available for comment.
HKK leader Vladimir Darpinian said the four leftist parties share the common aim of restoring state control of the Armenian economy and leading Armenia into the Russia-Belarus union. But he added that it is too early to decide whether the new bloc will participate in the 2003 presidential elections with a joint candidate.