By Hrach Melkumian
The Armenian opposition claimed on Friday that the influential Yerkrapah Union of Nagorno-Karabakh war veterans is unhappy with President Robert Kocharian’s threats to arrest lawmakers disrupting parliament proceedings.
Leaders of the loose alliance of 13 opposition parties again condemned Kocharian over his remarks that law-enforcement officials have the right to arrest disruptive opposition lawmakers even by “pulling their ears.”
According to the chairman of the Hanrapetutyun (Republic) party, Albert Bazeyan, many members of Yerkrapah believe that “he who will try to pull opposition deputies’ ears will himself have his ears cut.” “They are very good at cutting ears,” he warned.
Bazeyan and his allies said they will again push for a parliament debate on impeaching Kocharian during the parliament’s next session scheduled for September.
The parliament leadership’s refusal to allow such a debate was the main reason for the opposition’s decision to disrupt the National Assembly’s work last week. Members of the largely neutral Hayastan parliamentary group, who are affiliated with Yerkrapah, backed the opposition demands despite the fact that most of them are against Kocharian’s resignation.
Yerkrapah leaders, who hold senior posts in the Armenian military, had backed government factions challenging Kocharian following the October 1999 terrorist attack on the parliament. But they eventually backed down from further confrontation with the president, allowing him to reassert his control of the Armenian leadership.