By Shakeh Avoyan
Armenia’s leading opposition parties announced on Wednesday a “temporary” freeze on their month-long campaign of street protests against President Robert Kocharian provoked by the closure of the independent A1+ channel. They said they have cancelled the next rally scheduled for Friday.
The move followed the failure of an opposition attempt to bring impeach proceedings against Kocharian in the parliament.
Leaders of a loose grouping of 13 opposition parties told reporters that they are undaunted by the widely anticipated setback and are taking a one-month break to ascertain their further actions.
Former Yerevan mayor Albert Bazeyan, who is the chairman of the Hanrapetutyun party, the driving force behind the campaign, said they will try to “clarify our approaches to further actions.” He said they will also decide “whether or not it is possible to establish a deeper alliance-type relationship within the framework of our cooperation.”
Bazeyan and other opposition leaders have said previously that they have agreed in principle on the need to put forward a single candidate for next year’s presidential elections. But they have so far refrained from speculating about who might take on that role.
Arshak Sadoyan, the outspoken leader of the small National Democratic Alliance party, said the opposition has not abandoned its impeachment plans. He said it will make another attempt to unseat Kocharian at a “more opportune moment,” most probably by the end of this year.
The current Armenian parliament is dominated by presidential loyalists and is unlikely to back opposition charges that Kocharian had violated several provisions of the constitution.